As parents we have the privilege of selecting the soundtrack of our children’s childhood. What we choose to have our children feast their ears upon has the power to season their aural palate and influence taste in music for the rest of their lives. The gravity of this responsibility can sometimes feel daunting but, like much of life’s liturgy, as long as you are intentional with your goals for this aspect of your family’s home life and diligent in their execution, you can confidently proceed without unnecessary fear and guilt. Seriously, the last thing mothers need is more room for doubt about their performance. Don’t even entertain the lie!
My vision for music in our home is to provide listening opportunities that help my five children cultivate a love for classical music and therefore a recognition and appreciation of beauty and justice through harmony. If this is also the hope you hold for your family culture, or even if you just want your children to have a little more exposure to the arts, to help in your noble endeavor I have shared some of the activities to which we have pinned our listening times. We have found that pairing our listening with activities that must happen on a regular basis aids us in overall consistency by acting as a built in reminder. Our family does not use every one of these examples at all times, we simply select a few for our current season of life. Try a few time slots out and choose what works best for your family.
If you need ideas on where to find music for your family I have a few recommendations here.
10 Ways to Add Classical Music to Your Day
1. Have a family “Call to Muster”
Begin your family’s wake-up or school time by playing classical music. You can even choose one favorite piece for the task. We use the finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to signal the start of our Morning Liturgy (Morning Time) after breakfast. The cannons make it a favorite of our sons.
Have classical music playing in the background while making and or eating meals. Help us bring back dinner music! It doesn’t have to be loud and obtrusive or occur every time y’all are at the table. You can start by picking one night a week and go from there.
3. Drive Time
Purpose to listen to classical music while driving to or from a specific place your family frequents. (E.g. school, church, grocery store).
4. Music Appreciation
Add music education to your Morning Time or homeschool. You can find our Easy as ABC Music Appreciation method here.
5. Composer Teatime and Concert Hour
Institute a weekly Composer Teatime or Concert Hour. Have your children choose their favorite pieces for a playlist or pick a composer to match the books, poetry, or time period your family is presently studying. It is much easier for little ears to listen attentively when little mouths are full of scrumptious treats! Your refreshments need not be extravagant to be special, have fun thinking of connections. I’m also putting together some simple menus to share for the future.
6. Play Time
Put on classical music during your children’s free or outdoor play. The physical movement can assist your children’s remembrance of the music.
7. Free Reading Time
Play a quiet soundtrack during your children’s free reading time. You can chose to relate the musical era to the books’ settings. Look for recommendations of such pairing here in the near future.
8. Work Time
Listen to motivating classical music while your family works together on chores around the house. For us this is typically our family’s “Crazy Hour”. We use more energetic pieces like Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries” to motivate our tidying efforts. Then towards the end, a calmer, slower piece is a signal to wrap things up and change gears in preparation for and to set the household mood for Papa’s weeknight homecoming.
9. Bath Time
During the novelty of bath time is a wonderful time to introduce the youngest of children to classical music. Even five minutes of listening is beneficial.
10. Sleepy Time
Try using classical music to ease the transition to sleep at nap time or bed time. Most are farmilar with the idea of lullabies like “Hush, Little Baby” and Brahms “Wiegenlied,” but may not make the jump from singing these tune to playing lesser known classical options like choral music. In addition to other works of Brahms, pieces by, the still living, composers John Rutter and Eric Whitacre are delightful. Rutter’s “A Gaelic Blessing” and Whitacre’s “The Seal Lulliby” are especially loved in our home. The videos are below.