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Sing with your child month: Vanessa Trien exclusive

A special blog post by Vanessa Trien:

I sing with my kids. A lot. Maybe even a little too much – my two year old daughter often shrieks, “Stop it, mommy!” But this wasn’t always the case. For the first six months of my son’s life (he’s now six), I was too tired and too overwhelmed to even think about singing.

Vanessa Trien sings at Magic BeansThen I began teaching Music Together classes and performing for kids, and things started to change. I remembered how important music was in my life, and I wanted to pass that love of music on to my own children. Songs started creeping into our daily life, accompanying our bath time, our car rides, and our tooth brushing (“Brush, brush, brush our teeth, brush our teeth together!”).

Now I have two kids who throw regular dance parties in our house, sing songs through their pretend microphones, and are exhibiting what Music Together calls “basic music competence”: singing in tune and moving with accurate rhythm. And I am lucky to teach classes where I get to guide other families in making music together, and observe the magical musical interactions that occur between children and their parents and caregivers. Plus, through the shows I perform for kids, I get to express my own joy and appreciation of music, and pass that enthusiasm on to my audiences.

You don’t need “musical talent” to make music with your children. Your voice is the single most beautiful voice in the world to your child, so soak up the attention and sing out! Or grab some pots, pans, and Tupperware, and have a drum jam. Or turn on some of your favorite music and throw a dance party in your living room. Or have a “listening party” where you try to pick out the different instruments and talk about what they sound like: are the violins buzzing like bees? Do the trumpets sound like knights riding in on horses?

The impact of singing and making music with your child is immeasurable, and kids learn about music best in a playful environment, so let loose and play play play! Let’s celebrate Sing With Your Child Month this March by showing our kids just how fun music-making can be.

I’ll leave you with one last anecdote: I’ve been singing a song lately with my daughter that goes, “Mary wore a red dress, red dress, red dress, Mary wore a red dress all day long.” One night, after a long evening spent at the emergency room to get beads out of my daughter’s nose, as we were leaving the hospital, my daughter sang, “No more beads in my nose… all day long.” A minor musical accomplishment! Happy Sing With Your Child Month!

Vanessa Trien is a Boston-based singer and songwriter, with two award-winning albums for kids, Carnival Day and Hot Air Balloon. She holds a Master’s degree in education from Harvard, and teaches Music Together classes in the Boston area. She’s also a dynamite performer, adored by children and parents alike. And she has two singing, dancing kids. Look out for Vanessa and the Jumping Monkeys, on tour!

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