How musical is your family?

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a tool to determine how musical your family is. I teach early childhood music classes at my church and we use a great curriculum called Making Music Praying Twice. The authors of the curriculum have come up with a great tool to help you objectively measure how musical you are at home, with this evaluation, from their blog.


1.      The children and adults listen to music together
a.       at concerts
b.      throughout the day at home
c.       in the car
d.      if the TV show we’re watching has music. Do commercials count?

2.      My children see Mom
a.       playing instruments and/or singing regularly for myself
b.      singing nursery rhymes and kids’ songs to them
c.       singing along to the radio and TV and at Mass
d.      telling others that she is “tone-deaf.”

3.      My children see Dad
a.       playing instruments and/or singing regularly for myself
b.      singing nursery rhymes and kids songs to them
c.       singing along to the radio and TV and at Mass
d.      telling others that he is “tone-deaf”

4.      My children see me dance
a.       at performances and rehearsals
b.      at several community and family gatherings
c.       around the house frequently
d.      maybe once at my cousin’s wedding

5.      Our current music collection
a.       includes a variety of music from different styles and cultures.
b.      includes special CDs we’ve gotten for the kids.
c.       includes my favorite music from when I was in high school.
d.      is buried in the garage.

6.      Our home has
a.       two or more musical instruments for adult use.
b.      one serious instrument used in the home.
c.       kiddy instruments for the kids to use.
d.      I think that Elmo toy came with a maraca.

7.      Written music
a.       is represented in my child’s décor, toys and books.
b.      is used frequently in our home.
c.       is around for the older kids’ music lessons.
d.      is available at our local library.

8.      Are we composers?
a.       Yes, at least one adult in our home writes vocal or instrumental music.
b.      We make up silly little songs all the time.
c.       We change around the words to songs to make them funny or meaningful. (“Kelly has a big sheepdog” instead of “Mary had a little lamb”)
d.      No.


3 points for every a.
2 points for every b.
1 point for every c.
0 points for every d

Interpreting the Results

0 – 7 This is good time to really work on your home environment. Make sure to try to add fun music time to your day. Remember, you need to have fun and love music if you want it for your children.Don’t let your own fears and insecurities stop you. It is better for your child to see you try imperfectly, than to wait any longer to have music as a part of his life. The Homeschool Edition provides further guidance and can help you to make improvements in your musical home-life right away.

8 – 20 You have the skills to create a musical environment for your child, but you can do more. Use this as an opportunity to be more conscious of the musical choices you make at home and try to fill your child’s daily schedule with more opportunities for music. Be especially aware of suggestions in the Homeschool Edition Manual that help you to add music to mealtime, bath time, bedtime, etc.Also, you may need enhance your music equipment and CD collection. CD recommendations are provided in the manual.

21 – 35 You are doing great. Now you need to integrate the specific skills and content we present in this program to help your children. The Homeschool Edition Manual with guide you in creating Unstructured Education Plans for your child which specifically deal with the issue of environment.In your plan, take your current musical environment and try to add one or two elements to it so you could retest and gain at least 2 points.

36 – 48 You have a naturally strong musical home. Your child is likely already progressing well in music development simply by being in this environment. Try to integrate the Making Music Praying Twice curriculum into your family’s musical life, and add a structured music time to your week. You have the ability to use the curriculum in a rich and meaningful way for your child.

If you found yourself in one of the first two groups, don’t worry. Maybe your life is really hectic, or maybe you are unsure of your musical skills. Maybe you’re just not sure what kind of music is children’s music, (because, what does that even mean?) or maybe even think you hate children’s music. If this sounds like you, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t musical, but just that it will take a little nudge to take music from something that your family passively absorbs into something that you actively experience together.

Notice that I didn’t use the word perform. Really, you are doing that, every time to make music or move to music, but let’s put that word out of our minds. Few of us identify ourselves as music performers. We can be music-makers though. No matter your level of experience or level of comfort, you can find music that is meaningful, fun, and that you can share with your family.

For the next few posts, we’re going to look at different reasons your home environment may not be as musical as you would like, and we will find way to take the music that you enjoy and turn it into a fun, significant, and instructive experiences for our littlest music makers.

Comments: How did you do on the evaluation? Which reason or reasons are keeping you from being more musical at home?

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