"Come see our show!" cried my kids and their cousins. They coaxed us to the basement, where we sat on the couch while they stood on furniture, sang into a flashlight-turned-microphone, and performed an original song entitled "Carson is an Awesome, Awesome Guy."
Carson is two. His adoring siblings and cousins are 10, 8, 8, 6, 5, and 4. Together, they played guitar, sang, danced, and kept time with a drum. The song was simple, but catchy. (It is now branded into my head forever.) They had a blast playing music and singing together and I couldn't help but think how valuable this type of play and imagining really is and what it does for kids.
1. Building confidence
Kids love to perform for their parents. In the early years, when kids are not so self-conscious, our praise builds their confidence to perform for others some day. When we do not criticize or evaluate or judge their creativity, they are free to continue to try new things in a safe environment.
2. Fostering collaboration
When kids work together to write lyrics, choose chords, and sing together, they are giving and taking and learning to defer to one another. It is not a small task to collaborate--and kids who learn to work together make strong leaders as adults!
3. Encouraging leadership
By playing and imaging and creating together, kids learn valuable leadership skills. They learn what is "bossy" and what is kind. They learn to listen to each other. When creating music, ideas are thrown around and some are accepted and some are discarded. Navigating these decisions takes leadership and grace.
4. Inspiring creativity
It is important for children to learn to read music, play in correct rhythm, and memorize music. It is equally important to freely compose a song from scratch, invent new and interesting chord progressions and sing silly lyrics! When imaginations are allowed to run wild, children gain confidence in their creativity. Their ideas are not being edited--they are just allowed to create and enjoy themselves.
5. Making memories
I snapped a picture of the kids performing in their "band," and now that image is a snapshot of laughter, fun, and memories that we will hold onto forever. The daily grind will soon be forgotten, but carving out time for creativity, fun, and music is what will stand the test of time in our memories.
It warms my heart to see my kids and nieces and nephews playing music and singing in my basement! Music is such a strong force that brings us together, puts a smile on our face, and sticks with us for years to come. Nothing beats playing music together and being with those you love!
Jen Hickle, Author
Since I was a little girl playing "school" in the garage with the neighbors, all I've ever wanted to do is teach. I'm passionate about passing on knowledge to other people!