Music is an essential part of our development. We use music to express our feelings, to get in contact with a personal situation that we are going through, and to get to know a culture or even a person. Our music choices change throughout the years as our personalities change. That is why someone’s music taste can tell us so much about that person.
Our relationship with music should start right at the beginning of our lives, since even from the womb we can feel the vibrations of music and sounds outside. As a matter of fact, it is proven that musical experiences from childhood can accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. Music activates all areas of a child’s development, and helps to build the skills that will help them during their school years.
Beyond their intellectual skills development, music is a great way for them to experiment and grow socially and emotionally, as well as it is a fantastic vehicle to work on their, motor, and language skills. How? Well… what do we all do to music? Dance! So music helps with coordination, rhythm and body language. It comes out natural to all of our kids: when the beat starts they love to jump, move and shake it, because it is fun and simply great. It gives us joy, and that is quite the best reason to bring it into our children’s life.
Of course our perception of music changes with years, but for every age there is a good activity involving music that we can do with our little ones to help them grow closer to music.
As babies, they can definitely perceive melody even though they might not understand words, they also understand the mood that music expresses. So introducing soothing music at the beginning of bedtime or making up short songs about bath time or going to the park, will stimulate them and help them associate the activity with the rhythm.
Later on as toddlers, music will help them use their body. As they are learning to control it and move around, music is a great moment of joy to help them get loose to dancing. Furthermore, they can start memorizing songs, so they will love to listen to the same ones on and on, as remembering the lyrics will make them feel they are achieving something, and that feeling is definitely something we want for them through all their lives. It is also at this stage that they can start playing rhythms themselves by clapping, shaking small instruments and objects.
Pre-schoolers will love to sing, anything and anytime. They will most likely not notice at the beginning whether or not they are singing out of key, but they will enjoy singing songs that involve an activity and that somehow requires them to follow instructions. You will notice that any song with a definite beat and repetition will be a hit, so just embrace it and enjoy because this is a great sign of them trying to understand and identify what they are listening to. Games like the musical chairs, mimicking instruments and anything that will help them interpret the music that they are listening to will be a great activity for them.
From the beginning of their school years to high school they are ready to start playing an instrument, taking dance lessons, joining the choir or a band and investigate their own ways and music tastes that help them being inspired, focused socially and accompanied through theirs lives.
Music is a great gift that we can give our kids as parents. It will bring them back to great memories, and will also help them identify with us in the future. Let them get to know you through the music you love, join you for a concert or any sort of music spectacle, be part of it and learn to embrace music through you.