Teens believe music is an essential part of life as it reflects our culture and society. As your child grows older, choosing music that he or she likes as well as music you can tolerate will get more difficult. Tweens will outgrow the kiddie music, however you don’t want to expose them to the negative influence of much of the teen pop music. For your middle schooler, look for a mix of parent-friendly pop music on compilation CDs. For your teen that must pick his or her own tracks, provide guidelines as to what is considered acceptable and unacceptable in your home.
In addition to the tunes, musical instruments and other musical play toys are some of the most satisfying for children of all ages. Research shows that learning music can provide for improved spatial-temporal reasoning which has therefore motivated both educators and parents to push for more music education for children. Additionally, other studies show that passive listening to music does not have the strong effects on intelligence that come with actively making music. Along with the intellectual benefits, there are also social and emotional benefits. Encourage your teen’s musical interests and talents with the following tips:
- Expose your Teen to All Kinds of Music: Try to listen to music outside of your normal range. Think classical, pop, country, folk or even ethnic music of other cultures! After introducing a variety of music, allow your teen’s own interest guide the way to music lessons and activities.
- Seek Out Live Music: Attend a concert with your teen. Consider visiting local clubs or other locations noted for unique types of music.
- Participate: Encourage your teen to get involved in school chorus or band.
- Make a Tape: Have your teen prepare a tape, CD or song list on an MP3 player for you to listen to in the car or on a walk. Have your teen include some favorite music that he or she is currently listening too – maybe he or she will even include a song or two that you’ll enjoy!
- Ask Your Teen’s Opinion: Encourage your teen to read concert reviews and newly released CD reviews in the newspaper or magazines. Ask if he or she agrees with the review.
Some of the best gifts for teenagers have to do with music. Here are some ideas to keep your teen listening, playing and singing the tunes:
- Acoustic/Electric Guitar: Jam-along guitars make finger pickin’ a snap as it teaches your teen how to play in time and tempo. These guitars generally come with volume control, guitar case and strap, picks, strings and an instructional CD.
- MP3 Player Speakers: Most teens have an iPod or other MP3 player that they listen to while on the go, however when your teen is at home, he or she would probably like to lose the headphones and experience the sound at another level. Purchase some speakers that can plug right into the player.
- Air Guitar/Drums Video Game: Your teen can personalize the guitar and/or drums and really feel like he’s rocking out. These games allow wanna-be rockstars to jam to many songs, even allowing them to improvise at times.
- Home Karaoke Machine: Teens can sing along to old tracks or now right along with music from their iPod. Many allow for a second microphone to enable duets with friends.
- Broadway Musical Soundtracks or Tickets: Many of today’s productions provide a slice of popular entertainment that can give a younger audience a lasting taste of musical theatre. Whether you’re able to take your teen to a show or provide the soundtrack for him or her to enjoy – you will grant your child the ability to appreciate the art of music.
Music, in some form, will always be a part of your child’s life. All children should be exposed to music even though they may not be musicians in the future. Fun with music and awareness about sounds will initiate your teen’s appreciation of music – and may lead to further learning about history, art and literature.