Insisting on Music

Learning about music can be fun and easy for children because of websites devoted to children’s music. The sites below have programs or interactive games that teach about different types of music. Jazz Kids is great for children who are interested in jazz music, while Classics for Kids is perfect for those interested in classical music. Sphinx Kids and The Children’s Music Network both devote their sites to teaching diversity through music. These sites help children turn their interest in music into a lifelong fascination.

Jazz Kids
Jazz Kids is a program that encourages children to improvise their own jazz songs. It complements any music program that the child is already in, and each lesson only lasts five minutes. The first 30 seconds of the lesson are dedicated to learning rhythm. The Jazz Kids books list ideas for learning rhythm, such as clapping to the beat or tapping out the student’s own melody. The next 30 seconds teach ear training. The suggestions include playing a song and asking the student to identify it, and allowing students to create their own different do-re-mi melodies. The next portion is two minutes of playing the song that is on the book’s accompanying CD. During this portion, students are encouraged to make up their own lyrics or try listening to the song very fast or very slow. In the final two minutes of the lesson, the students get to use their creativity to improvise. Some suggestions are to play the first few measures of the song and then improvise the next few measures, or to play the licks forwards and then backwards. These lessons can be purchased on the Jazz Kids website. This program is perfect for children who are interested in jazz music or for those who would like to improve their creativity in music.

Classics for Kids
Classics for Kids is not just dedicated to teaching classical music. It also teaches skills like how to compose and how to read music. The site’s composer tab lists many different composers under different categories, such as country of origin or time period. This unique organization is useful for learning about specific groups of composers under a different category than composers are normally listed. The games tab also uses these same categories to test children on what they have learned on the site. There are also games that allow students to compose their own songs, learn rhythm, and learn to read music. These interactive games are both fun and informative. The music tab lets children listen to music and create their own. It also features worksheets on various composers. These worksheets have information as well as word searches and other games to teach children about the composers while offline. Classics for Kids is a great resource for any child interested in classical music or learning to compose their own music.

Sphinx Kids!
Sphinx Kids is a colorful website that is filled with games about music. It also centers around the theme of minority musicians, and gives them recognition throughout the site. The composer’s gallery and the minority composer’s forum tells all about different composers. It gives information about their lives and also gives children a chance to listen to their music. The string instrument gallery and instrument storage room teach children about the different instruments and how to identify them. The orchestration station allows children to click on different instruments to hear their sound. The minorities on stage section lets children listen to and watch videos of minorities performing on stage. This site is perfect for children who want to see videos of performances or play with interactive instruments online.

The Children’s Music Network
The Children’s Music Network is a website focused on diversity and awareness of other cultures. It features many songs that are listed by the culture they originate from. These songs are fun to listen to and dance to, even if children do not understand the language of the lyrics. As a result, children will become interested in other cultures and will meet children of those cultures with acceptance and understanding, rather than exclusion. These songs also expose children to other languages which could teach them a few words that they may hear and understand in the future. The songs on The Children’s Music Network’s site also center around values that children can use in their everyday lives. Some of the values are respect for our parents and grandparents, saying thank you to people who produce food for us to eat, and learning to get along well with others. This website is a great resource for parents and guardians who would like to teach their children about other cultures using song.

by Caroline LaMotta