Here are two things about music I didn’t know before I had children:
- every child can learn to sing in tune and hold a beat (as long as they are stimulated by active music making and are exposed to role models who actively make music)
- you can be a powerful role model for your child regardless of your musical ability
I was not exposed to much active music making when I was a child and I was certainly not great at singing in tune. I have always enjoyed moving to music but only discovered a passion for singing when I had my son. With my lack of musical ability, I only sang to him when I could not be overheard in public.
Early childhood music education
When Tristan was about 8 months old I found out about this wonderful early childhood music programme called Music Together which offers music to babies and toddlers in a very playful and non-performance oriented learning environment. I enrolled Tristan and myself in this programme and we followed the classes for two years. It was wonderful to see him grow not only in terms of musical skills, he also developed self-confidence and social skills through being part of a group of adults and children of mixed ages.
I was also amazed about how easily Tristan picked up the English songs (being raised with German and Dutch). As a nice side effect, I also improved my musical abilities and gained self-confidence about singing in public (just as well, as I do use singing and music as a powerful tool in my baby signing courses :-))
Having learned so much about music and the effects of active music making, I have been exposing my daughter, Briana, to music from the moment she was born. The first few months I mainly sang to her and as soon as she was able to hold objects with her little hands I started offering her small instruments and made music with her. She particularly enjoys playing the drums, the piano and the xylophone.
She has also just discovered her love for dancing. Watch her rocking around the Christmas tree:
Today I took Briana to her first Music Together class and she curiously explored the new environment and happily tried out some new instruments.
From the days when Tristan and I went to the music classes (and thanks to the permission of the other participating parents as well as the lovely teacher Mariëtte Jansen) I’ve put this video together for you:
Health and social benefits associated with music making
Last but not least, I would like to share some health and social benefits associated with music making:
- From a health perspective, music has been found to: enhance cognitive development in children, exercise the brain, help fight memory loss, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even stave off depression.
- Some of the social benefits of music making include: inspiring creativity, increasing productivity, building confidence and creating social connections/bonds.
Watch out for a continuation of this post with ideas for musical instruments (bought and home made) as well as tips for great play along music available on iTunes. Click here for the continuation of this blog post.
By the way, I have not been asked to write this post nor am I receiving anything in return, I am sharing this information with you because I truly believe in early childhood music education. Other programmes I have heard of are Kindermusik and Musik Garten.
I would love to hear about your music making experiences in your family.