1. Create a theme around something musical they love.
A child’s favorite song (like “Old McDonald”), his favorite CD or even a music DVD can be a great basis for a party. My niece, who just turned 2, is crazy for our Singin’ Safari DVD, so her mom and dad surprised her with a room full of pictures of safari animals, safari decorations, some new stuffed animal friends and the DVD playing. Everyone joined her in her antics — dancing like an orangutan, crawling like an iguana and rocking her stuffed animals. The adults joined her at something she enjoys, creating memories of time well spent with those she loves — and at a very small price. What a gift!
2. Invite a musical guest for a mini-concert.
There are many professional musicians who will come into your home and give a party performance — a mini-concert or a mini-class. As a Kindermusik educator, I had a musical-birthday-party package that included a “class” for parents and children, from newborn to age 5, all sitting in a circle playing instruments, singing and dancing together. Parents could also choose to skip the goody bag and instead buy a small instrument for each child to take home, like a jingle bell or set of rhythm sticks.
3. Take the party on a musical outing.
Whether it’s going to a concert or musical, or to a music store or studio, taking a small group of children to a musical event can make for quite a fantastic party. This option can cost a little or a lot. You could take that group of 4-year-olds to a music studio for one hour and record them singing a familiar song (maybe even “Happy Birthday!”), then give them each a CD copy to take home. Or perhaps you have the resources to take them all to see the musical The Lion King and buy them each their own CD so the experience can live on forever. On the low-budget end, why not take a tour of a music school? Inspire little party-goers at MusicWorks in Bellevue or Seattle’s Music Center of the Northwest, then give them each an inexpensive little instrument or a custom-made music CD.
P.S. Musical gifts
There are so many musical gifts from every price range to consider: a first drum for the very young, a keyboard for the nearly 4, that red guitar that your 6-year-old has been dreaming about or even their very own copy of the orchestral score for Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev. These musical gifts are more than just fun — they might even inspire your child to play more music!
Linda Sebenius is a “Maestro” music educator, music director of Music Shine Media, and performs live with Let Your Music Shine! with Lisa & Linda.