“A village without music is a dead place” —- Nigerian saying
I was inspired by all the parents of young children who brought their little ones to the library this morning, eager to expose them to music activities and play. Music is such a natural and powerful connection with children; It exercises the brain. It teaches language. And most importantly, it fosters emotional bonds between parent or caregiver and child, as they interact and have fun.
Below are some brief comments I’ve shared in the past in early childhood workshops.
For all ages: Music exercises the brain.
Studies show when a musician plays or sings, he/she uses approximately 90% of the brain. Researchers could find no other activity that uses the brain to this extent. Conclusion: a child who is playing or singing on a regular basis is stimulating general intelligence more than his/her counterpart who does not play or sing.
Benefits for children:
• Music and movement contribute to a child’s rich sensory environment, which helps build more pathways between brain cells
• Children who actively involved in music do better in reading and math, have better focus and control of their bodies, and display better social skills and higher self esteem.
For the infant to two-year-olds, the main goals are:
– To have fun! Enhancing the emotional bonds and interactions between adult and child,
– Playfully exposing children to language, word meaning, vocabulary, concepts such as counting and color.
How children of this age respond best:
-When actively experiencing it. Movement develops gross motor skills, mind/body connections and neural pathways in preparation for reading and math. Use rhymes, tap or bounce to the beat.
– For singing and playing: Cheerful, simple, repetition songs.
– For calming: any soothing song; you aren’t limited to “children’s” music.
– Watch the volume of live or recorded music: young ears are sensitive!