Any good parent wants to encourage their children to explore music. From birth onwards, exposing kids to the rudiments of music can make a huge difference in developing a lifetime appeciation for music in all of its forms. Additionally, many studies show a correlation between early music learning and school achievement, such as higher math scores.
Even if the benefits were not there, my husband and I would still feel compelled to make music with our kids; that's just how we are. There are so many instruments in our home that we can hardly name them all: acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, folk harp, synth, piano, harmonicas, bongos, etc.
I am not saying that we play all of these well. Sometimes, we sound like a band composed of drunk street urchins, trying to bang out a tune to pay for the next meal. Sometimes, as in the case of my husband, the ivories are tickled just right and make music that charms. Mostly, however, the sounds we make are middling in quality, but ring true in the arena of total, unrestrained fun.
When we all perform together as a somewhat motley crew, we seem like a freakish American family Von Trapp. We really do. But we trudge forward, the squeaks and squawks coming from the recorders, the twangy strums mostly out-of-tune.
Even when the kids were very little, we HATED playing or singing little kids' tunes with them. BLECH! It is as easy for a kid to learn the words to a Depeche Mode song as it is for them to learn a mind-numbing nursery rhyme (and in the case of Depeche's "People are People", it is MUCH easier). So we do zany covers of The Cure, or Led Zeppelin, or whatever we are in the mood for. I think our kids consider themselves lucky that we altogether skipped the "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "KidzBop" phases of their musical lives.
I was delighted when I came across this awesome video of a family doing their own cover of Depeche Mode's "Everything Counts". I hope it inspires you to share the 80s with your kids during your family time; it will make EVERYONE happy. Just bang a drum or blow a whistle. Don't say that you can't do it: you CAN.