I have always hoped my children would love music, whether from nature or manmade. I tend to sing, a lot, around the house. For better or worse, I sing, because I want my kids to know it is ok to sing for the joy of it, even if you don't have the voice of Adele, Whitney, Emmy Lou, or the latest Idol stars. I recall teaching first grade and feeling sad that each year a student or two refused to sing with the class. I didn't pressure them, and I am glad, because now with children of my own I realize they don't all want to sing. I just want to be sure they know that it is safe to try.
I recently purchased a ukelele, half planned, half spontaneous, because my 3 yo is becoming so fond of playing at storytime at our local library. The storyteller reads, and sings songs with our preschoolers and has brought in extra ukes for the kiddos to try. They are perfect for little hands and with just on or two fingers little ones can play a few chords and practice strumming. My middle son has been silently longing to play an instrument, he is a singer/noisemaker at heart, and this year at school has spent the year being told to be quiet. I would love him to gain the confidence to let his music out for the rest of us to hear. (Right now he sings when he thinks no one is listening) My oldest doesn't sing much, so I was pleasantly surprised that he has already been reading the little booklet that came with the uke and is practicing several chords on his own. Perhaps my next classroom will have a uke or two for the non singers to play.
With three kids and no money for lessons right now, I was hoping the uke would fit the needs of my family, and I think it will do the trick. Besides being the cutest instrument invented, I have easily been able to master several chords and the kids have at least one in less than a week. (not that it is a race, but the ease is motivating). The uke is also a quiet alternative to the guitar or keyboard that always gets cranked to it's highest volume. There are tons of online resources for songs, techniques, and advice for teaching kids and I am currently looking for a book that my oldest might use to soak up ukelele info and music, because that is how he enjoys learning. I think we are all on our way to becoming a musical family.