Monday, February 8, 2010

Children and Music

As a member of Twitter Moms I came across a post from a fellow mom asking for points of view on how important we believe musical education is for children, specifically around elementary school age. As a mother of a two year old and based on the memories of my childhood including a love of music and dance I can certainly speak from my perspective. This Twitter mom also asked what we felt were some benefits of exposing our children to singing and instruments.

Here is my point of view.

Music is a significantly integral part of a children's development especially from such a young age. I started with nursery rhymes from the very beginning with my daughter Sarah including singing and toys including rattles that made sounds. Leading into toddlerhood I desperately tried exposing Sarah to other types of music as I could only take so much of the nursery rhymes. I tried other music at the start but she only responded to the kid’s music.

Through conversations I had with educators including teachers at Sarah’s school, I learned that the rhymes are critical to a child's growth and development. It helps with their memory when words rhyme and also when there is repetition.

As a result, I became a bit more understanding and accepting of the constant playing of kid's music at home and on the go.

Now that Sarah is two years old I am happy to say that in addition to nursery rhymes, which we still have streaming through our house and car on a regular basis, intertwined with that is classical and jazz, and music from young children's movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz. Daddy decided to add some of his favorites into our “Children’s Music” playlist on the iPod and, voila, a growth in music appreciation for different genres has been established.

There are even musicians who sing songs that are great for little ears that somewhat sound like children's music and are great adult listening songs as well. For example, Singing in the Rain by Gene Kelly and Miracle by Renee and Jeremy are some of our favorites that Sarah enjoys to listen to as well.

We also have many instruments in our home both Sarah’s and ours that we use regularly. I have come to realize that you don't have to be great. You don't even have to be good. You just have to want to have fun. I barely play enough cords on the guitar but manage to get a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old MacDonald. Thanks Auntie Mandy for writing up simple cords for me to play. I am still not that good on guitar but Sarah seems to enjoy it. So, I encourage you try it as well.

On a separate note, while I am a proud and loud shower singer, the truth is I really stink. My husband doesn’t think I am terrible but what I hear doesn’t sound like music. Nonetheless, I have been told that no matter how bad we think we may sound as singers our children hear otherwise. They hear something beautiful and wonderful, and familiar.

So sing, sing loud and sing often with your little ones.

I support and agree that music is a great part of a child's life and hope to keep exposing my daughter to it throughout her life, while I still have some say and guidance.

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