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Teaching Children to Love High Quality Music

By JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

After writing about how pornography infiltrates the music industry, I would like to include information about how one family taught their members to love high quality music. To do this, I am going to quote from an article by Carolyn J. Harmer, taken from “The Lighted Candle” newsletter, December 2003.

Mrs. Harmer is the mother of 10 children, all of whom in their youth learned to play the piano, and most of them a second instrument as well. As adults, they continue to exemplify in their lives and homes the appreciation for and participation in wholesome and uplifting music. How could we learn from anyone better?

I certainly agree with her as she says in her article, “Parents have the prime responsibility for teaching their children to love and appreciate good music.” It doesn't just happen. With the prevalence of inappropriate music and with no intervention by parents, the likelihood is that youth will fall into this trap.

Mrs. Harmer reminds us that over the past decade more and more FM radio stations are opting to replace classical music formats with rock music. She states, “Children have easy access to noise that passes for music. Public schools are eliminating school music and instrumental training programs as a way to balance budgets.” Then she gives us the following suggestions that she and her husband used to encourage their children to love good music:

  1. “Invest in a piano and enable your children to take piano lessons. The piano is a good instrument to help children to learn the basics of rhythm and note reading.” Then she suggests that later they might branch onto another instrument. She concludes this section by saying, “They were so busy practicing good music, they didn't have time to listen to rap, rock, or heavy metal.”
  2. “Encourage your children to practice regularly. Make practice charts. Reward children for their effort with a trip to a community concert, a special recital, a new CD, or a special musical activity.”
  3. “Attend school musical events. When your child is performing, attend and cheer him or her on.” As a family, we always went out for ice cream after performances. Mrs. Harmer suggests that if your school doesn't have a music program you could teach children music appreciation or teach patriotic songs, folk songs, holiday songs, etc., perhaps once a week.
  4. “Listen to good music in your own home. . . If your children hear good music, they will develop good listening habits. You choose the music that comes into your home.”
  5. “When you are going somewhere in the car, sing together. This is a fun time to sing folk songs, nonsense songs, rounds, and carols. Take turns choosing the next song. Always have a favorite tape or CD to play when the children get tired of singing themselves.”
  6. “Support classical music stations in your community.”
  7. “Take your family to symphony concerts in your community.” Mrs. Harmer mentions that often there are special concerts geared for children, and sometimes there are youth symphonies your children can participate in.
  8. “Create a family tradition of attending a Messiah sing-in during the Christmas season.”

There are studies that show that children who play musical instruments do better in school.

As our children learn to enjoy good music, as they become aware of the joy they can find in wholesome music and become aware of the danger of inappropriate music, they will more likely make good choices.

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