I don't know about you, but I find music to be the best cure for almost everything around here. Kids have a case of the grumps? Turn on the Mini Pop Kids and rock out! Stuck in the car as a family for what seems like an eternity? Pop Sonshine & Broccoli into the CD player and sing like no one is listening! Feeling exhausted but having trouble winding down? There's nothing more calming than a little Jewel: Lullaby.
I believe music is one of the best ways to connect with your kids—which is why I've taken both of my girls to countless music classes (we love Kidville's Rockin' Railroad and Rainbow Songs) live concerts (Raffi, Sharon, Lois & Bram, Kayla) and even stage musicals.
One of the best musical experiences we've had was sharing the holidays (Halloween and Hanukkah) with the amazing Sonshine & Broccoli. My daughter fell in love with Lisa Sonshine almost instantly—and they've been friends and pen pals ever since. (My daughter sent Sonshine & Broccoli a picture by mail and Lisa, who was traveling at the time, sent her a postcard back from India!) What's so awesome about Lisa is she's not only a dynamic, talented, high-energy performer who can really sing—she's also totally genuine, amazingly kind to all of her little fans, and so so passionate about music! She and her best friend Brock (Broccoli) Burford started out, after completing musical theatre school, doing parent-and-tot classes and birthday parties across the GTA. In the decade since, they've traveled across Canada performing at all kinds of events, touring schools and summer camps, recording three albums, and developing an amazing program for kids ages 7 to 12 called Pop Stars, where kids get to write and record their own songs.
Their music is a little bit rock and roll, a little bit Broadway, and a whole lot of fun. It's silly and totally catchy and you'll find yourself singing their songs in the shower when your kids are nowhere to be seen. Sonshine & Broccoli concerts help all kids (introverted and extroverted) find their inner rock star.
How To Use Music To Connect With Your Kids:
"What's so amazing about music is it allows kids to express themselves in so many different ways," Lisa tells me. Perhaps your child loves to dance and will develop his/her own steps; or maybe your child takes more to musical instruments and will play whatever they can get their hands on be it a drum, a toy guitar, or some shakers. Some kids, like my daughter, are really into making up lyrics to their own songs, while others love to sing along with whatever's on the radio.
"Children respond to music in very different ways" says Lisa. "An introverted child might sit mesmerized through a concert but then come home and sing all the songs, while a more outgoing child will be up as close to the stage as possible, dancing and singing along." No matter how your child responds, it's almost impossible to get nothing out of a live musical performance. Just being there is enough to create lasting memories.
Lisa says, young kids don't have to listen to "Wheels On The Bus" all the time. "If you expose your kids to all sorts of music, you'll find the genres or types that they respond best to." Watch to see what music your kids connect with, and then play more of that. Often the music that parents love most, be it pop or the classic rock, kids tend to get into that as well. So don't be afraid to share your musical preferences with your kids, even if they're only 2 or 3 years old.
Putting kids in music lessons, teaching them to play an instrument, signing them up for dance classes, having them join the school choir, or enrolling them in something like the Sonshine & Broccoli Pop Stars class is amazing for boosting self-confidence.
While all of this can be expensive, not all musical exposure costs money. Consider making your own instruments, hosting family talent show nights, having impromptu dance parties, finding free concerts in your city, and borrowing music from the library to determine what your kids like best. Remember, no matter what you're doing, be it formal lessons or DIY instruments, make sure your kids are having fun!
Does All This Talk About Music Make You Want to Rock Out?
If you're in Toronto, Join Sonshine & Broccoli in celebrating their 10th anniversary, this coming Saturday, September 21 with a live concert (including dancers, a children's choir, special guest appearances, and much more!). Tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/840155.
If you're not in Toronto, keep an eye on their website because Sonshine & Broccoli just might be coming to your city sometime soon.
And, if you can't make it to their concert this weekend, you can hear Sonshine & Broccoli live at the Mount Sinai Hospital Rock N Stroll fundraising event on September 28. My family will be there rockin' out—will you?
If you liked this post you're sure to like How Dance Class Gave My Little Girl A Big Self-Esteem Boost and How I Introduced My Kids to Sharon, Lois, and Bram!