It is said that Lord Shiva brought sound to this universe in his damroo….whether or not we believe in it, we cannot deny the ethereal nature and effect of music in our lives.
Is it a surprise that every culture and religion in the world has a different kind of music for a different kind of occasion? Meera poured out her devotion by singing love songs to Kanahiya , Purandaradasa sang about Vishnu, the Quwwals continue to engage in light banter with the Saints outside their Mazaars, the passionate intense style of the Sufis has even made inroads to our drawing rooms!
Singing for the kids can be just as versatile.
Sing a lullaby as you try and put the little one to bed, chant the Gayatri mantra as you bathe him in the tub or sing a lakdi ki kathi..kathi pe ghoda as you prop him on his rocking horse…..each singing escapade has a different kind of effect, the desired effect for the occasion. While one soothes another dispels boredom.
Just like there is a different kind of music for a different kind of occasion, there’s a different kind of musical interest for different kind of children. The sooner a child is introduced to the various options, the better the possibility of the child’s energies getting channelized into a musical exploration in life. However, not all children may be musically inclined, so it is not a good idea to force one’s own interest onto them. If a child lacks musical intelligence or is tone deaf, accept it and help the child find his calling in sports or painting or some other alternative, forcing such a kid into music will cause more harm than good!
Remember, in childhood, music is meant to be fun. A child may grow into it with time and it may become his sadhana some day, but try not to turn it into a chore from the beginning. No child can enjoy his/her music without an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, so give feedback, encourage the child to practice and perform. If you have a problem and complain about the noise everytime the child sits down for practice, better help the child find another interest, the pursuit of which is kinder on your own nerves.
Children start displaying their acumen in their area of interest very early in life. Watch closely the different kind of toys that a child responds to in the toy shop, they will give you clues to his/her interests. Try and match the child’s interest and child’s temperament in choosing an instrument for your kid. Even if a child has potential as a vocalist, it is a good idea to help the child find an instrument which the child can relate to and grow with. A child who is blessed with good vocals can be encouraged to take to a musical instrument with keys, like a harmonium .
Percussion instruments like tabla, mridanga and drums require a lot of energy, so they may be ideal instruments for hyperactive and sporty kids. The violin as an instrument will help develop skills and concentration like no other. But a child playing the violin must have a certain calm and certitude, or else the experience can be quite frustrating. The guitar is a fairly versatile instrument, a very wide genre of musical interest can be accommodated by the same. The keyboard perhaps offers the greatest variety and bandwidth of up gradation. Buy a simple straightforward keyboard in the beginning; keep upgrading depending on the child’s progress and abilities.
Some children may have a natural affinity to multiple instruments. Encourage it, facilitate it! Even if the intention is to help the child take up some instrument professionally, it is a good idea to give him/her varied exposure at a young age. Almost all accomplished musicians can handle multiple instruments!
Also be prepared that the child’s favourite music and musical instrument is likely to be diametrically opposite from your own. Especially as the children advance into their teens they display some very definitive choices. Sometimes you may not even be able to relate to it. But respect the choice made by your kid. Be honest about your discomfort and ask your child to help you appreciate his kind of music. Encourage your child to experience different kind of music by yourself being open to accepting his/her kind. Remember they could find the grownups interest as fuddy duddy as the grownups find theirs too loud. Agree to disagree on your choices, no judgment, no offence!
Remember, every minute the child spends practising an instrument, is a minute she has spent away from unwarranted influence of unregulated TV, boredom leading to experimentation with smoking and /or sex. It is a moment invested in the child developing his self confidence, concentration span and maybe even an alternative career.
Music is also a great gift item. An MP3 player can delight and engage a teenager like no other gadget can. Cut out CDs of your son’s favourite music as return gifts for his birthday. Help pick out the music, design a cover, who says there aren’t interesting ways to bond with children once they grow up?
If you have any unrequited desire in the field, maybe you too can enroll yourself in a music class and learn to play an instrument of your choice. The next jam session can be between the two of you, with your other half as the audience. Can there be any more effective method of parent - child bonding than a jam session between the two? Even family gatherings shall get spiced up by the duo’s performance. Instead of shying away from attending the family do and complaining of boredom, teenagers could start looking forward to them. Being the center of attention in a positive way is every one’s cup of tea. Not to mention long hair in a young boy playing the guitar becomes so much more acceptable, and you too need not have to duck from the relatives’ disapproving looks about your teenage son’s hairstyle!
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