For me and my kids, music is in our bones. We can feel it in ways that are unexplainable.
“Music is all around us, all you have to do is listen.”
August Rush. The storyline isn’t that great, even though it is very sweet and sentimental. I had to agree with the critics on this one. But the value for me in the film was in appreciating and feeling the music. The scene when the boy is talking with “Wizard” (Robin Williams) and they look up at the night sky, “Wizard” talks about how the whole universe is filled with music. It’s always around us, all we have to do is listen. Watch this little clip to see what I mean.
For some of us, music is innate. It’s a power, a mood, an atmosphere. It reaches inside to grasp the spirit and has the ability to change the course of feelings and actions.
Knowing this to be true, I’m careful about the music I play in my home because music affects me so deeply. I almost hold it at bay not wanting to feel or get carried away by it; I don’t want to be driven by an outside force.
Also, I’m a highly-sensitive-person and the stimulation from a house full of kids plus music loud enough for everyone to hear equals one overwhelmed and frustrated me.
But I turned on Eric Clapton during our chore time the other day. I had a high standard for my kids with regards to wiping down walls and cupboards. One child noted that he really liked the music, and I think we all did. It helped to boost our moods and busy our hands. The guitar and drums helped our minds to zone out as we stuck to the physical tasks, and it also shut our mouths because no one wanted to talk over the music.
Sometimes words fail me. They fail my feelings, my desires, my commands. They fail me in battles, in chores, and in bonds. So I’m learning to use music. It’s something that is a science and an art.
Figuring out the balance between the style, rhythm, instruments, energy level, and lyrics is difficult and I have definitely made wrong selections. I wish I had a guide for home school life with kids and music because when I make a bad selection, I end up feeling worse than if I had just kept the house silent.
I want to keep trying to figure out the role of music in our home. If I would have given up on using music, then I would have missed out on the magic of changing all our moods and the course of the entire day.
Music is my key for a calm home. For a calm heart. I must be willing to engage in the balance and willing to get some notes wrong because for my kids music holds a magical ability to guide their actions in ways that words cannot.
When I use music and what kind of music it is:
Chores: I pick music I like that is upbeat. This is not a time for silly kid music or chores will derail into a bigger disaster of brooms, wrestling, and rags – someone usually gets hurt. My current favorites are: Eric Clapton’s Greatest Hits, Lindsey Sterling, JJ Heller’s Loved, or anything else that sounds good to me in the moment. The key to using music for chores is to use music that the kids won’t be able to sing along to or music that has a driving beat that will get their little hands busy instinctively.
Quiet time: Instrumental or lullabies. I’m really picky when it comes to quiet time music. Not all lullabies or instrumental music are created equal. I can’t tell you how many times I tried a new lullaby CD from the library that had a weird song on it or a random upbeat song that threw the whole mood and atmosphere of “quiet” out the window. There’s nothing more disappointing for a mom (me) than a quiet time ruined by a kid who is over stimulated and jumping and/or shouting from their bed. My current favorites are: Hillsong Kids Jr. Piano Lullabies Vol. 1 This collection is the most beautiful and calming CD I think I have ever found. I simply cannot listen to it enough. When my toddler is in quiet time, I turn up the monitor so that I can enjoy the CD too. Other lullabies that I’ve loved are the Hidden in My Heart CDs. These are scripture based songs (some word for word scripture) that are sung in soft, calm tones. The music is straight truth for little hearts and soft like a blanket to listen to.
Get-the-wiggles-out: Music made for kids. My current favorites are all the Slugs and Bugs. Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame have tapped in to the child-like spirit of fun and silly and have created songs that appeal to all ages. The melodies and lyrics get stuck in my brain and make me smile. Their music proves that you don’t have to write annoying lyrics or play bad music for it to be “fun” for kids. The Laurie Berkner Band has a great CD for getting wiggles out too. But one of my absolute favorites for getting the wiggles out, while at the same time getting classical music in their brains is: Say Hello to Classical Music. This CD came with our kindergarten curriculum package from My Father’s World – and it is by far the best part of the whole kit for us.
Morning Time: Worship Music. There are simply too many favorites to list here. Sometimes we listen to the radio, sometimes we listen to older CDs or Pandora. We love music that points to the glory of God; it starts our day with an upward focus and I notice that this helps everyone’s mood as well. It’s simply right to remember why we are here and to be thankful for a new day to be alive. The perspective of worship music helps us in the morning or all throughout the day. For an even more powerful worship focus, I love Michael W. Smith’s DVD New Hallelujah.
And The Piano Guys gets their own category of ANYTIME music. We all enjoy their music so much. Watch this video to see what I mean. The way they wove Amazing Grace into this Fight Song is brilliant.
For more information on highly sensitive people check out Parenting a Highly Sensitive Child. This post may be helpful in determining what music should and shouldn’t be in your home.
Also consider reading more:
What helps keep your home calm? Do you use music to balance the ups and downs in your day too? I’d love to hear recommendations in the comments!
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