This post is part of a paid partnership with Carnegie Hall Kids; all tips and ideas are the author’s. Start the musical journey early and go to kids.carnegiehall.org to check out fun, child-friendly games and quizzes!
When I was little, Santa brought me a Fisher Price Cassette Tape Player Recorder and Microphone. Truly, it was love at first sight as I studied the five buttons on the bulky, red-and-tan device — record, forward, backward, stop and play — as well as the microphone off to the side with a thick, yellow, twisty cord. It was rare for a day to go by without me strutting my stuff around the house belting out Tomorrow from Annie. If you ask my mom, that’s when my love of music began.
Fast forward to my teen years, and my life was filled with karaoke birthday parties, school musicals, choir concerts, and rushing off the school bus to watch Total Request Live (TRL) on MTV. While my music choices had slightly changed over the years (Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were my go-to artists at this point), my love of singing never wavered.
In college, I majored in Public Relations/Journalism, but pursued singing with the University Ensemble choir for two years, continuing my passion for performing into my adulthood. After college, while I patiently, (read: impatiently) waited to find my first “big-girl job,” nobody was surprised when I jumped on a plane to Orlando, Florida in 2009 to audition for American Idol. No, you won’t see me on AI reruns, but I sure had a blast!
The experiences I’ve had through music imparted lifelong lessons on me. I hope my children, Chloe and Dawson, will encounter these lessons, too. Here are the three reasons I’m encouraging an appreciation for music in my kids today.
#1 Self-Confidence Is Something You Build
American Idol may not have panned out, but it sure gave me the confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to. Little did I realize, a boost in self-confidence was exactly what I’d need to land my first professional job in my early 20s. Going into a job interview with exactly zero professional work experience and selling yourself to an employer is HARD. I walked into that interview with my head held high and the belief I was good enough for the role. I just so happened to walk out with an offer shortly afterward and spent the first 6 years of my professional career with that employer.
#2 It’s Okay To Not Be The Best
Sometimes in life you work so hard trying to achieve a goal, and you simply come up short. That was my experience auditioning for the part of Adele from the musical Guys & Dolls in the 7th grade. I will NEVER forget how devastated I felt when I learned my friend Christine was given the role over me. But guess what? I survived, and that specific musical turned out to be one of my most favorite experiences in musical theater. There will be many times in life when you strive for something and don’t achieve it, so it’s great to learn the lesson while young. Healthy failure helps shape us into humble, well-rounded individuals.
#3 Taking Risks Is Worth It
I am not known as a risk-taker, but you have to take risks to reap rewards, right? Sometimes you need to stand on that stage and belt out “Who Knew” by P!nk in front of total strangers. Or fly on a plane on a whim to audition for a singing show. To try out for University choir, even if your chances are slim. My willingness to take those chances made me into who I am today. These days, I’m ready to go outside my comfort zone on a work project, or switch industries in my career if the opportunity presents itself. Early in life, I learned taking a leap is worth it.
How I Mindfully Sprinkle Music Into Our Lives
Today, as momma to my daughter, age 9; and son age 4, I prioritize providing them with opportunities to experience music. We sing in the car (as loudly as possible) with the sunroof open and windows down. I conveniently placed a bluetooth speaker in the kids’ bathroom to encourage singing in the shower. And I allow them to play whatever they’d like on Alexa (even if it is the Poop song!).
As my kids grow, I’ll encourage their involvement in organized musical activities. For example, in just a few days, my husband and I will attend our daughter’s very first school chorus and band concert. It may not be Grammy-worthy material at this age, but seeing her perform for others on stage will certainly boost her self-confidence. Plus, the preparation that went into her performance taught her the importance of showing up for her peers and following through on a commitment.
While I don’t consider myself a musician or perform in public anymore (except for the occasional karaoke night 😉), I am hyper-aware of how music has positively impacted my life. I’ll continue to provide my kids opportunities to experience music throughout their childhood. Hopefully this will help them foster their very own love of music.
About Our Sponsor: Carnegie Hall Kids
Today, children’s music education does not always have to be left up to classroom teachers or private instructors. There are great online resources right at our kids’ fingertips. Our sponsor Carnegie Hall Kids is an excellent example. Carnegie Hall’s website has a ton of educational materials for kids and families, such as quizzes, games, videos, and more. The best part is, it’s all free!
Start the musical journey early and go to kids.carnegiehall.org to check out fun, child- friendly games and quizzes!