There is a rhythm, tempo and music to life and every day you live it adds to your unique symphony. Help your children realize and enhance their own symphony by introducing them to the power of music at an early age.
Perhaps you played music to your child when they were still in the womb. While there is no scientific evidence that playing music for your baby has any effect on fetal development, your heart might tell you otherwise. Scientific studies have shown that a mother who listens to music while pregnant can reduce her stress level. A stress-free mother equals a happier, healthier baby so in that way music benefits an unborn child.
The first introduction to music your child experiences is through lullabies. Singing your child to sleep strengthens the bond between parent and infant as you share familiar melodies and comfort them with the sound of your voice. Colorful crib side soothers play soft classical music and lullabies to the movements of animals or stars helping your baby feel safe and protected. In this way, music has a relaxing effect on your baby and eases them into sleep.
Playing music for babies is not restricted to lullabies. As they progress out of the newborn stage and become more aware of their surroundings you’ll discover how they react to different kinds of music. Turning on some up tempo music and dancing around while holding your baby will introduce them to rhythm and tempo as you move to the flow of the song. Soon they’ll be bopping along with you much to the delight of you and anyone else watching.
There are numerous toys that teach with sounds, music and lights and your child’s eyes will light up when they’re introduced to them for the first time. They might be tentative at first by this new musical stimulation but in time they’ll figure it all out and you’ll be wishing the volume went a bit lower on the toy. Play along with your child as they’re learning the toy and express pleasure when an action is rewarded in a musically positive way. Your child’s mental development is improved by this stimulation and their curiosity and excitement fires up new pathways in their brain as they learn.
When your child learns to walk you might temporarily forget about the importance of music as you focus on keeping them from falling and bumping into things. This stage is actually a great time to keep the music going. Corral your little one before they head into disaster at full speed by giving them a musical instrument they can play. Babies loves banging on xylophones and drums and while what they play might not be what most consider music, the potential is there for it to become music.
Even if you’ve never played a note of music in your life, taking the time to learn a few easy songs on the xylophone can show your child its intended purpose. Hearing a familiar song like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” coming from an object they thought was meant for abuse can instantly earn a child’s attention. Sit with them and show them how to play the song and you’ll both enjoy the experience and be reminded that it’s still possible to slow down the symphony of life.
Once your child has graduated to being a toddler you’ll learn that they want to learn about anything and everything, usually all at the same time. Giving them more involved musical toys can keep them focused on one activity for a while and improve their hand eye coordination. A toy piano with light up keys can show your child exactly what keys need to be pressed to progress through a song. Your child might not know how to play the song at the correct tempo at first but as they play it and the toy shows them how it’s supposed to sound, they’ll learn quickly.
Music will continue to be a part of your child’s life as they enter school. Preschools use music to motivate children to stay in line, clean up their toys and work together. You’ll hear them singing little songs you’ve never heard before as they tidy up the toys at the end of the day. Listening to, playing and singing music is fun and interesting for young children and it helps bring them together. You’ll be treated to quite the show when the children will put on one or more musical performances during their preschool years.
Children are often nervous about entering grade school but music will continue with them on their path. Music is often introduced during kindergarten orientation as a way of showing the children that they’re all connected and it helps them build friendships. Kindergarten teachers use the same or similar songs to motivate the children to do tasks and work together.
Music as a classroom teaching tool will diminish as your child progresses through the grades but it doesn’t have to go away. With all the studies showing that music is vital to a child’s education, many schools fight to keep music programs. Your child will usually get the opportunity to participate in chorus before band. The entire class is often expected to perform in the chorus until a certain grade level after which it becomes optional. Not every child will be excited to be singing as they get older but the music will still benefit their development.
Your child will eventually be given the option of playing a musical instrument in band. The school will have an orientation where the children can try out different instruments until they find what they like. This process is important because your child might discover that they don’t have the feel for the clarinet they thought they would and find percussion more appealing.
It’s impossible to know how your child will do with an instrument until they’ve been given the chance to handle it and play it. If you have a musical instrument background yourself you have the advantage of knowing what’s involved and can help guide your child. Ultimately, you want your child to enjoy learning and playing the instrument they choose so don’t force them to take up the trombone just because you made all county every year in school. Your child has their own unique gifts and it’s vital that you allow them to explore their potential.
The musical tastes of you and your child might not always coincide but with all the great music out there, you’re bound to agree on some. Just as you associate certain songs with specific memories, your child will too. You’ll smile as you hear them humming or whistling a song that you sang to them or played for them when they were little. Such moments in the symphony of life show you the lasting gifts that come from incorporating music into your child’s development.