Music Making for Kids
The Complete Music Making Guide
For Families At Home
Gaining enjoyment from music is one of the most rewarding gifts someone can have in their life. Whether we grow up to play music professionally, as a hobby or just enjoy listening to it and attending concerts, music can enrich every part of our being. It's also something we can all draw pleasure from at any stage of our lives.
For many people, the love of music starts when we're young and is nurtured during our early life spent at home. Whether it's dancing to Aretha Franklin in the kitchen or listening to an older family member play an instrument, the home has a special role in creating our formative relationship with the art form.
At DabbledooMusic, while most of our activities are based on helping schools to deliver music in the classroom, we recognise from our own upbringings of the important role home life has in engaging children in music.
So to help parents with this, we've put together this resource page with advice for parents on different musical activities that you can encourage your child with at home. Throughout this page we have links to articles and resources on different topic areas that you can try out with your child.
Here are the 10 topic areas of music making for kids and families at home:
- Song Singing
- Listen to Playlists/Radio
- Instrument Making
- Online Lessons and Activities
- Live Stream Concerts
- Practice an Instrument
- Project on a Musical Theme
- Compose Music/Write a Song
- Make a Music Video
We've develop a full parents' course of different online resources to help with music making at home. We have song-singing courses, interactive activities and links to fun video and audio content. To find out more and for details of how you can sign-up, click here:
- Parents - We're Here to Help - further details of how you can use our parents' course to engage your child in music at home.
1.) Song Singing
Singing songs with children is a really simple way to bring music to life in your home. Song singing is not only good for helping develop a child's musical skills, but it’s also great for their mental health. It doesn’t matter what you sing or how it sounds, the act of doing it is the most important thing.
Why not have a little family concert on a Friday or Saturday night and get everyone involved performing songs together. You could choose songs that you all know or try learn a song together.
Resources to check out:
These are both included for free in our parents' course.
2.) Listen to Playlists/Radio
Talk radio shows have little benefit for young children to listen to, so whether you're at home or in the car, try tune in to a music station. There’s also a lot of great child friendly radio shows on the national airways as well as playlists on sites like Spotify and Soundcloud.
Putting on music in the background while your children are playing games, working on an arts project or doing other school work can create a pleasant and calming atmosphere in your house.
Resources to check out:
- DabbledooMusic radio show course - this has the full list of our free recorded episodes which feature music from different musical genres and artists. You can also access our current list of shows by clicking on one of the links below:
- Music of Africa
- Music of Brazil
- Music of New Orleans
- Irish Traditional Music
- Music of Björk
- Christmas Special
- Blues Music
- Music of The Beatles
- Irish Artists Special
- Piano Special
- Hip Hop Special
- American Civil Rights Music
- Music of Jamaica
- The Voice
- Artist Profiles
- Brass Instruments
- Halloween Music
- Acoustic Guitar
- Electronic Music
- Irish Electronic Music
- Film Music
- Electric Guitar
- Summer Music
- Stevie Wonder
- Bass Guitar
- Drum Kit
- Call + Response
- The Pentatonic Scale
- Winter Music
3.) Instrument Making
Instrument making at home is a great activity for children to gain skills in two creative subject areas: arts + crafts and music. It also crosses into science activities as children explore how different materials produce different types of sound.
You can start by encouraging your child to think about what different sounds are made from existing objects. For instance if they hit a plastic food container with their hand it might sound like a drum. If we then hit it with a wooden spoon, the sound will change. Now if we pour rice or pasta into it and shake it, it becomes a shaker with a much different sound.
Doing this simple exercise with pre-existing household objects can provide some good inspiration for ways your child can create their own instruments.
From rice shakers to tin can drums, here’s a good blog for ideas of simple instruments children can make at home using everyday objects. Once they've made their instrument, part of the fun is to come up with interesting art designs for them.
- Home-Made Instruments - check out our blog featuring people who have found inventive creations for instruments.
4.) Online Lessons and Activities
Online resources can be very useful for engaging your child with music education. This could involve checking out educational videos on YouTube (such as The Online Academy of Irish Music) or it could be using apps like Yousician for online instrumental lessons.
Resources to check out:
- DabbledooMusic Parents' Subscription - sign up for free to our parents' course.
- The Sounds in Your Home - simple activity plan using our Clock resource to make music at home
Dancing and music are intrinsically linked with many styles of music from around the world having been specifically designed so that people can dance to it. A great activity in itself is watching different videos of different styles of dancing and listening to the music that goes with it.
Dancing is also a great way to stay active. There are all sorts of dances children can learn at home and lots of easy to access YouTube explainer videos (like this one) to help teach them fun dances.
Otherwise, just find your favourite bangers (like this one) and dance about in the kitchen:
- Dances to Teach Your Kids at Home - dancing and music have always been old friends and so we decided to make a list of dance moves you can try out with your kids at home.
6.) Live Stream Concerts
Increasingly lots of artists are hosting Facebook or YouTube live streams of concerts that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. There are also lots of websites and resources out there where artists have shared their live concerts for free for anyone to watch.
Why not sit down as a family to watch a concert of an artist you like. If you miss a live stream, don’t worry, most of the time artists will be able to share a video link for you to watch the concert back.
7.) Practice an Instrument
If your child has been learning an instrument in school or outside of school, helping them to carve our time is important to help them get the best out of learning an instrument. Building routine with them to practice their instrument can be important but also encouraging them to pick it up even for a couple of mins at a time can be just as good. A good way of doing this by placing their instrument on an stand. That way it's not tucked away in it's instrument case.
Whether it’s the piano, ukulele or another instrument that they're learning, why not encourage them to learn some songs they enjoy listening to. It doesn’t have to be a piece they have been learning for a grade exam - it could be a Taylor Swift song that they love that they can learn the chords and sing along to.
If your child has always wanted to learn an instrument, maybe now is the chance for them to try one out.
8.) Project on a Musical Theme
As a fun educational activity, why not encourage your child to make a project on a particular artist or genre of music. You could ask them to write it up in an exercise book or maybe even get them to make a poster that you could stick up in the house.
As an example, for an artist, they could draw a picture of them and surround it by facts that they research on the internet. These could include where they were born, what age they learned music at and what the names of their albums are.
Resources to check out:
- Artist Profiles Course - this course features current artists, classic artists and classical composers so that children can learn about the musician, their background and try different activities associated with them.
9.) Compose Music/Write a Song
Encouraging children to work on creative activities is a great way to pass the time. A good example is for them to come up with a song on a theme they know about.
This could be about what it’s like being at home all day or about one of their hobbies that they have. Encourage them to focus on writing the lyrics in the way that they might write a poem. Once they have their lyrics, they could then try sing it to a melody and, if they’re feeling very ambitious, try to add some accompanying chords by playing a piano or guitar along with them singing.
Once they have finished writing it, try record it for them on your phone so that they have a record of it. This all adds to the feeling of accomplishment they get from the activity.
Resources to check out:
10.) Make a Music Video
With the quality of the video and audio capabilities on smartphones these day, recording a music video on a phone is very doable. This could be a dance your child has come up with for a piece of music they like or it could be them having fun lip syncing along to a pop song. Check out this example of a music video made by children.