It's no wonder that there can be some complaining when "Music" has to fit into a 30-minute practice box. Is that really all there is to music? If you want to have music fill your whole heart and life, check out these 16 fun and simple ways to bring music into your home every day.
1. Sing an ascending scale when walking up stairs, one note per stair. (How many steps up can you go up before it's too high to sing?) Sing a descending scale when walking down stairs.
2. Whenever you walk, walk in time to a steady rhythm and simultaneously carry out a melody in your head -- or aloud. (Some people do this subconsciously all day long. Are you one of those people?)
3. But then again, why walk somewhere when you can dance there?
4. Listen creatively to life. Ask each other fun questions like:
- If that person was an instrument, what instrument would their voice sound like?
- What genre of music does this rushing river sound like?
- If that painting became a song, what would it sound like?
5. Listen intuitively to music. Ask each other fun questions like:
- How many/which instruments can you decipher?
- What personality traits are conveyed through that fiddle line?
- What story is the song itself telling (music only, lyrics aside)? Tell the story as the song plays.
6. Play recorded instrumental music on speakers throughout the day, sometimes very familiar albums, sometimes songs entirely new to you. Let the music naturally fade in and out of your consciousness. From time to time, sing or pick up an instrument to play a few notes that work with it.
7. Own at least one instrument from each category of: Blowing (whistles, woodwinds, brass), Plucking (bowed strings, guitars), and Striking (piano, percussion).
8. Trade the word "practice" for "play." Place an instrument in each room and encourage playing at any time of day. (By the way, an "instrument" can be a small thumb piano or nose flute -- no need to make a big investment in order to have an instrument in every room of the house [yes, especially the bathroom, no kidding].)
9. Make a list of every different instrument you've ever gotten to try playing. Add to the list as often as you can. Go on a hunt visiting friends' houses and music stores.
10. Use any voice recorder to play back your singing and playing instruments. Sound your "best," sound your "worst" -- either way, laugh and talk about it. Make a list of how you'll try it differently next time. Were you successful in making the second recording sound different like you aimed for?
11. Invite musician friends over to give concerts and have jam sessions in your living room or on the lawn.
12. Try to sing the note made by constant frequencies around the house, such as: a fan, a blender, a car horn, etc. Then find the name of the note by singing it with an instrument or to a tuner.
13. When you count, count in sets of threes, fours, sixes, etc. It can help you internalize the rhythmic form of measures (and, bonus: supports the use of multiplication!).
14. Find the "Resonant Pitch" of your shower (the note that sounds the loudest when you sing it at normal volume level), and while showering, make up songs that center around using that note a lot.
15. Notice steady rhythms in nature (water drops dripping, insects chirping, etc.), and add your own part.
16. Make your everyday conversations feel like music: choose "lyrical" phrases and use warm, pleasant tones when talking with each other.
. . . And just like that, another day passes, and whether you realize it or not, it was packed full of music. Kids have a point (and all busy, learning adults get it, too): You don't always need to "practice" in order to grow your music skills!
There are countless ways to experience music. Force-feeding the notes can drain out desires and valuable energy. Let love and joy be your motivation to make a sound.
Which is your favorite idea listed above? What ways have you already been turning everyday activities into musical ones? If you have further thoughts on having a home of harmony, please share in the comments below!
An accomplished performer on over 20 instruments, Danika finds the greatest joy by sharing her love of music with others. She is a recording artist and trusted music mentor who writes and composes from her California country home.