By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Music is a valuable activity that contributes immensely to the development of a child. In fact, new studies are suggesting that developing a child's musical ability may actually improve his/her ability to learn and be successful at other disciplines, such as language, math and science.
Following are some of the reasons why music is good for your child:
- Exposure to music makes children smarter.
- Music stimulates all of the senses and involves the child at many levels. This "multi-modal approach" facilitates many developmental skills.
- Children who take music lessons are able to learn complex math problems earlier than those who've had no musical training.
- Music can encourage socialization, self-expression, communication, and motor development.
- Since music is processed by the brain in both its hemispheres, it can stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used for remediation of some speech/language skills.
- Research also shows that adults who learnt music before the age of 12, had better vocabulary than those who had not.
- Music is highly motivating and it can also have a calming and relaxing effect.
- A child is able to handle stress and painful situations better with the help of music therapy.
Children respond to music even when they are tiny babies. This is why mothers have always sung lullabies to their children to relax them and help them go to sleep. In fact, you can even sing to your baby before it is born. Afterwards, sing to your infant often and remember to make eye contact. Choose simple, soothing melodies (no loud, startling noises), such as lullabies, blues or smooth jazz. Remember that very young babies are able to imitate sounds, so try to offer music that your infant may be able to coo back to you at some point.
Slightly older babies will be ready for more lively music. You can always count on the classic nursery rhymes like "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall", and "Jack and Jill". You can get some tapes or CD's of popular children's' nursery rhymes. Ask your children to clap out the rhythms, or beat out the rhythm with a musical instrument. Toddlers will enjoy singing along and doing the accompanying movements to nursery rhymes.
Let children pick their own musical instruments. Some of the musical instruments that kids will enjoy are - things they can hit like drums and bongos, triangles and glockenspiels, things they can shake like jingle bells, tambourines, and maracas, things they can blow like trumpets, harmonica, whistles and so on.
Studies show the musical ability of children raised in a household rich in musical experiences far surpasses that of children living in households lacking this richness. It is critical that our children hear and see us being musical with our voices and our bodies so they may feel encouraged to experiment and play with music led by their own natural urges to do so.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.