Playfulness is the way to go when engaging young children! Sometimes you just need to take the pressure off and lighten the mood. Laughter has the ability to reduce stress, improve circulation, and re-energize the body; all things we need for good concentration when playing a musical instrument.
So, let’s leave the nagging and the negativity behind and focus on what’s really important…connecting with children and enjoying music together.
⠀1. Get silly! ⠀
Are you having a hard time getting started with practice? Here’s an idea; pretend to completely forget how to hold the flute. Put it up to your nose, puff your cheeks, stick out your tongue. Before you know it, your child is giggling and showing YOU how it’s done!⠀
⠀2. Code Words
For those times when you need to watch posture or hand position; create a fun code word to whisper when something isn’t quite right. It’s a lot more fun to hear the word “pickles!” than “fix your right hand!” ⠀
3. The Ticket Game
This is a great activity when learning a new technique (like playing low notes or doing a tricky finger combination) and there needs to be a lot of attention to detail. Cut out some paper tickets and tell your child to watch your fingers to make sure everything is just right. Otherwise they can give you a…TICKET! If you get too many tickets, you might even have to go to flute jail! This game is extremely versatile and is always a huge hit!
4. Stand on One Foot!
For those moments when your child just can’t stand still…simply saying, “I bet you can’t play that on one foot!” changes the dynamic and engages their body and mind in a new way. Most children rise to the challenge and happily try it out. You could also play a song laying on your back, kneeling, or doing the splits.
Simply changing the energy in the room and lightening things up can have a profound effect on not only your child’s experience with music, but in the relationship they have with you. Let’s make practice time a place for connection, laughter, and play!