Lizzie Swan, one half of the Swingset Mamas duo, is a local mom and passionate musician. If you've never seen the Swingset Mamas live, do your family a favor and check them out at the JCC in Stamford this Sunday, March 8 at 3pm (a few tickets are still available). Promise promise you and kids of all ages will have a blast. We saw Lizzie perform at the SMNC last fall and we've been jamming out to her cd's in the car and at home for almost a year now. We're like groupies minus the sex and drugs.
I asked Lizzie to step in as a guest blogger today and share her thoughts about making music with kids. Read on for some great ideas (thanks Lizzie!) and to win 4 tickets to this Sunday's show.
Ticket Giveaway Rules
To win 4 tickets to this Sunday's show, just leave a comment below with your first name and town. Let us know what music your family loves or what you think of Lizzie's ideas for making music a bigger part of your lives. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday March 4 so check back then.
Making Music With Your Family by Lizzie Swan
As a mother, pre-school music teacher and founding member of the Swingset Mamas, I am often asked the question from new parents “How can I make music a big part of my child’s life?”
If there is one point that I hope to get across in my career as a “children’s music artist”, it would be to get rid of the notion that performance has anything to do with making music as a family. Parents often tell me that because they are not "musicians", they can’t sing with their children. or “My child tells me to stop singing, because I have such a bad voice”. These types of self-critical statements are truly limiting to the development of creative expression in our children and couldn’t be farther from the truth. Parents are the first and biggest role models for our kids in all aspects of life. If our children see us comfortable with expressing ourselves musically, then they will feel free to do the same.
Often at Swingset Mamas shows, I see well-intentioned parents nudging their child towards the stage to dance and sing along but not getting up and joining in the experience themselves.
To me, the simplest way to incorporate music into your child’s life is to dance and sing with them whenever you can. Live music shows, the playground, neighborhood, the kitchen, the car, at the bus-stop, or grocery store check-out, play-dates, these are all places and times where there is opportunity to make up songs, hear rhythms and sing out loud.
As a culture, we have moved from evenings spent with people of all ages gathered around the piano connecting, rhyming and singing together, to a time where everyone can be found in their respective rooms passively and individually being entertained by video screens, and/or ipods with headphones on. I find this lack of family music time sad because when I look back on my own childhood, I remember most fondly the moments spent singing together with my grandparents, parents, siblings and friends. Often times we had no accompaniment, just our voices and hands clapping along. I am sure that most people can hear a certain song, and be instantly brought back to the time, place and people that they were with when this song came out. These are the song foundations and opportunities that I am hopeful that today’s families will keep passing on to their children. If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that making music with your children, family and friends is easy and FUN!!!! Here are a few simple ways to incorporate music into your family life:
Have a dance party!!! At our house, we like dancing to Earth Wind and Fire. Sometimes, we do this for 15 minutes before we get started on our homework.
On road trips, we play a game called “Pass the ipod”. It’s fun to give each person in the car a chance to pick a song. This is one way to mix it up and introduce music new ands old to everyone.
Make up rhymes as you talk to your kids and go about your day together. You’d be surprised at how the simplest rhymes can quickly become chants and then morph into songs.
Have a parade. We like to march around our neighborhood with tamborines and drums. Often we find that simply marching in time together can spark a rhyme or song idea about the day.
What do you think of Lizzie's ideas? How do you make music a part of your family's day-to-day life? Post a comment below and win 4 tix to this Sunday's show at the JCC in Stamford at 3pm.