This week's question: How do you expose your children to music and art?
Theresa Crooks, part-time-student, part-time-working and full-time-mom to two adolescent children responds:
Considering the fact that my husband and I come from families of musicians and we both hold careers in the field of art, it follows that art and music are important parts of our family life.
Our family participates in different forms of visual art, music, drama, and dance as well as attends many performances. I think it is important to mention that we don't make these activities in the arts a high priority in order to make our children more intelligent or interesting, but simply because we enjoy them. Art and music are some of our family's favorite ways to connect and spend time together.
It is true that studies have shown a high correlation between exposure to the arts and higher test scores in school. Studies also show that a child's brain develops more fully through exposure to enriching experiences especially in early childhood.
One great thing about the arts is that they can transcend language and communicate in ways that words can't. I believe the arts touch us in places that don't get reached in any other way.
All that being said, I'm not sure if it is so important to the development of your children that you make sure the arts are a priority in your household. I think that it is more important to take the time to be with your children, share your own interests with them, and introduce them to a variety of things. I consider the arts as different forms of expression and communication that are worth exposing your children to in some way or another for enjoyment, enrichment, knowledge and just plain fun.
Unfortunately, the arts get very little financial support in schools so parents must look for places where their children can experience visual art, music, dance and theatre. Here is just a sampling of the local programs that our family has enjoyed:
- Pasadena Symphony and Pops’ Musical Circus
This was a fun place for our kids to experiment with different musical instruments and hear how they sound.
- The Hollywood Bowl’s SummerSounds
This is a great summer music and art program for kids.
- Haugh Performing Arts Center (at Citrus College)
We have great memories of the many years that we attended short performances geared for kids on Saturday afternoons.
- Centre Stage Dance Academy
We’ve watched several shows performed by friends and other local talent who have been a part of this academy in Monrovia.
- Foothills Music Together
I found these music classes for children ages 0-5 a great way to spend time with my kids when they were young.
- , Monrovia
My son currently takes music lessons at JFMA. We have also attended programs by students from the conservatory.
- Museums: J. Paul Getty, Norton Simon, Huntington Library, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Some interesting art museums that have displays and programs for children and families that we recommend.
- Arts Classes: Creative Arts Group (Sierra Madre), The Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena), Pasadena Art Center
These places all have art classes that have been highly recommended to me. However, these classes can be quite costly and we’ve never enrolled in any of them.
Young children mostly need to experiment with materials and don’t care so much about a finished art product. This has led me to believe that expensive classes really aren’t necessary unless your children are interested in learning more about a specific media.
I have found that it is enough to make a variety of different materials available to my kids and for me to play with the materials along side of them so they can see ways they can be used. Some amazing artwork has emerged as a result!
Faith Mellinger, local business owner and mother of THREE boys (Daniel was born August 23: Congratulations Mellinger family!) writes:
We have a regular jam session at our house. A child's drum set and a Melissa & Doug piano are on display in our living room. Guests often think some relative seeking retribution brought over the instruments, but they were really purchased by my husband and myself.
Music has always been important in my family. My parents were very involved in music, my dad had a radio show and many of my childhood memories are from various music festivals.
Our four-year-old recently discovered my old iPod and his new favorite pastime is "listening to music on my iPod." We regularly encourage our boys to play all they want on the instruments around the house and our two-year-old loves to play band. (Thankfully our new little one is sleeping through all the noise)!
Jenny Shepard, full-time working mom of three boys, says:
Yes we value the fine arts here at our household. My mother in law was an artist and my husband definitely got her genes. We like to draw, paint, play music, and dance.
We like to encourage them to color when they want to and keep an easel outside and let the kids paint on paper or boxes my husband brings home from work. I’ve noticed that my oldest likes to do more art than my 4-year-old.
To help foster his interests we signed our 6-year-old up for after school Art classes in addition to the art class he has during school and he really enjoyed it. He was exposed to pottery, painting and drawing, which he really liked. Our 2-year-old is perfectly content with crayons and coloring books at this point. I’d like them all to be exposed both at home and at school and we will encourage them as much as they want to take part in it.