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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

The Benefits of a Musical Environment

MusicYou can make music with just about anything found in your household. Adding a musically inclined environment to your child’s life offers extensive benefits for her emotional, intellectual and social development.

For young children, music helps identify teamwork. It shows that you can create something greater with the help of more people. For example, the use of drums, guitars and vocals can produce a better song than a song only containing the use of drums.

Music allows children to express themselves through creativity and openness with others. Enjoying music gives preschoolers a common interest and can create lasting friendships. Here are some ideas to incorporate some tunes into your child’s daily activities.

  • Allow your child to sit at the kitchen table with pots and pans to use as drums while you make dinner. This engages your child with you in the kitchen and keeps him away from the possible dangers of the kitchen while you are cooking. Provide him with different types of pans and utensils (for example, plastic utensils and metal pans) so that he can learn to create various sounds. It is best not to use glass in this activity.
  • Sing along with your child in the car. Preschoolers are not yet at the age where they become self-conscious of their behavior. In fact, most little ones love letting out their strong vocal chords for everyone around them to hear. Encourage your child to do this more often, even if it is a little loud on the ear drums! Playing basic songs and repeating them regularly will help your child retain simple melodies and rhythms.
  • Plan a dance party for family fun night. Encourage your child to get up and show you his moves by playing freeze dance. This is done by a family member controlling the music and stopping it at random times. When the music is stopped, everyone freezes until the song restarts. Freeze dance always results in tons of giggles by all the family members.

Music and Child Development

Excerpt from Me, Myself and I

Music_boy-2Children have an innate appetite for music.  Music is the superb para-language between emotion, expression, and imagination.  Here in the musical world, feelings come together with play, movement, and memory in a way that is not ultimately dependent on language.  And that is precisely why it is so indispensable to the young child across culture and class.

All young children, even those with only minimal hearing, have a powerful, almost riveting affinity for music.  Research has shown that the fetus responds to musical cues from the middle trimester onward and never stops attending to it afterward.  And infants are the same.  Watch an infant’s face as you sing or play music.  Even words rarely elicit such a complex reaction.  The desire to move and bounce to, kick feet to, rock back and fourth to – even match the mood of – almost any musical stimulus is powerful in most children.

By the era we are discussing, play with music is so complex and rich, it probably teaches more economically than any formal kind of instruction.  The neurobiological processes underlying the appreciation and facilitation of music-assisted play and interaction involve the brain pathways for memory, hearing, balance, motor control, hormonal secretion, cognition, and, of course, emotion.  Talk about a big bang for the developmental buck!

Take the simple circle song “…all fall down” (I grew up with the version, “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down,” at which point everyone collapses to the ground while still trying to hold hands).  What is the expression on the child’s face as he anticipates the collapse, knowing exactly what is about to happen, evoked repeatedly by the senseless musical cue?  What role does cooperation play?  Motoric competence?  Interpersonal interest?  Memory?  Emotion?  Shared emotion?  Imagination?  Which element is primary?  What else in our world can stir such a mutual response across generations and cultures?  I can’t think of a thing.