written by Danika Starrharrt
There's so much more to bringing music into the home than just "practice." Music doesn't live in a box, and neither do we need to operate in a "box" in the way we give music attention in our lives. Read on for a handful of fun ideas anyone can incorporate to bring music to life in the everyday.
1 Sing ascending scale when walking up stairs (how many steps up can you go/sing?) and descending scale when walking down stairs
2 Make a list of every different instrument you've ever gotten to try playing. Go on a hunt visiting friends' houses and music stores.
3 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.
4 Trade the word "practice" for "play."
5 Use any voice recorder to play back yourselves 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.
6 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?
7 Listen intuitively to music. Ask each other fun questions like:
How many/which instruments can you decipher?
What personality does it sound like that [fiddle] line could have?
What story is the instrumental (non-lyrical) song itself telling? Tell the story as the song plays.
8 Simple harmonizing game:
Level 1: first person sings one note and holds it (when they run out of breath, start the note again). One by one, each next singer adds in on the same note. The goal is that everyone is singing the same note in such perfect tune that no one's voice stands out; it's as if it's all "one voice."
Level 2: First person sings one note and keeps it going. One by one, each next singer adds a different, harmonizing note. The goal is to find as many different notes as there are people and have them all build a chord that sounds pleasing to everyone.
Level 3: Same as levels 1 & 2, only instead of singing long tones, sing fun syllables (eg Hey, La, Be) in rhythms. Establish a steady beat, then each singer can use their own corresponding rhythm, or all keep to a unified rhythm.
9 Simple voice strengthening games:
1: Buzz like a bee -- the louder the better! Change the note to fly upward very high then drift downward very low, smoothly back and forth.
2. Vocal sirens -- whoop loudly up as high as you can slide, then slide back as low as you can go. Use each pure vowel sound ("ah/ay/ee/oh/oo") to help make all of your vowel shapes be flexible.
3: Sing tongue-twisters, opening the mouth wide to keep clear.
4: Lay on the ground, put a weight on your belly and laugh as hard and as deeply as you can. Be rhythmical. Don't stop until you feel physically exhausted, helping grow your diaphragm power.
10 Simple melodizing games:
1: Sing or use an instrument to play one note to start a short melody. Next player echoes it back, and adds one more new note to the end of the melody. The melody goes around, being built longer and longer until the whole melody can't be remembered anymore.
2: Take a poem and sing it as a melody. Think "popular song" and make it simple with a strong beat. See which poems you can sing to the tune of which existing popular songs.
3: Memorize phone numbers by singing them as pitches of the scale (eg 208-352-3042 would be: Re, rest, high Do, Mi, So, Re, Mi, rest, Fa, Re)
11 Place a quiet instrument in each room (kalimba, song flute, keyboard with headphones, etc) and encourage playing at any time of day.
12 Make a goal to own at least one instrument from each category of: "blowing" (whistles, woodwinds, brass), "plucking" (orchestral strings, guitars), and "striking" (piano, percussion). Check your online free classifieds and don't pass up the opportunity to acquire a new instrument, even if it's not quality enough to play, and just for the purpose to take it all apart or make art out of it!
13 Whenever you walk, walk in time to a steady rhythm and carry a melody out in your head (or aloud).
14 But then again, why walk somewhere when you can dance there?
15 Invite musician friends over to give concerts and have jam sessions in your living room or on the lawn.
16 Make your everyday conversations feel like music: choose "lyrical" phrases and use warm, pleasant tones.
17 Try to sing the note made by constant frequencies around the house or town, such as: a fan, a blender, a car blinker or horn. Then find the name of the note by singing it with an instrument or to a tuner.
18 When you count, count in sets of threes, fours, sixes, etc. It can help you internalize the form of measures (and, bonus: supports the use of multiplication!)
19 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 use especially that note a lot.
20 Notice steady rhythms in nature (water drops dripping, insects chirping), and add your own part.
There are countless ways to experience music. Let love and joy be your motivation to make a sound.
. . . And just like that, another day passes, and whether you realize it or not, it was packed full of music.
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