music to your ears

My secondary school English teacher played ‘Mozart’ in the background and wore a yellow shirt as he thought that these could help to stimulate our brains as we sat for our English test. We all know the great benefits of music in a child’s life. The beginnings of music are as simple as rhythms and beats, you don't need any prior formal music training. We just need to get into the groove of things and music can be a way of life in your family.

1.     Let the MUSIC PLAY...

On and on. Simple background music of a variety of genres can be played. If you’re going nuts from hearing the same children’s songs on repeat mode, feel free to play some of your favourites but of course with appropriate lyrics. This encourages spontaneity when your child picks up certain beats or melody that he likes. Once, I turned on ‘Motown’ classics, and Nat suddenly started dancing to it. We had an impromptu 30 minutes sing-along dance session of pure fun and joy. My daughter Noelle, 7 months, will also pick up various sounds and turn her eyes towards the source of the music. When I see that happening, I just pass her some simple toys and gently guiding her to tap to the music. Just tapping 2 simple blocks together can do wonders.

2.     Let your child SING...

And sing whatever lyrics he makes up (again with appropriate language), sing at whatever volume he likes, and sing in whatever manner he likes. And it really helps if you sing along with them. Nevermind if you’re tone deaf or not pitch perfect, it doesn’t matter. There is no shame, no embarrassment. Your child will know that home is a safe place for freedom of expression. Nat recently he has been composing his own songs. There was once he picked up a certain sound that Noelle was making, and he made that into a song for her. That’s a simple act of love for his baby sister in the form of singing.

3.     Let your child DANCE...

And dance with them. We make up silly actions for fun and also intentional ones that encourage rhythm like stomping, clapping, snapping fingers and nodding heads. Sometimes I let Nat be the deejay. He will use the iPad to choose the music that he likes. The music clips he gets to choose from are usually short recordings with no lyrics. Short and sweet so he doesn’t get bored with one type of music and no lyrics so that he can just interpret the music the way he wants to.  Interestingly, he really likes the ones with a tribal feel to them.

4.     Let your child MAKE MUSIC...

And get he or she involve in making their own musical instruments: Shakers made from beans, recycled bottles with bells inside, or any pot looking type of contraption for drumming. My husband bought an ukulele for my son and we’ve a piano but the latter has chosen the DIY instruments over the ukulele and the piano on countless occasions. Before you buy the state-of-the-art musical instrument that costs a bomb, use simple items at home. It’s much easier for toddlers and preschoolers to manipulate percussion-like instruments.

Different children love music in different ways. Some children express interest in learning instruments at a young age, some just love to make music in a crazy informal manner. When he or she doesn’t want to learn the piano, it doesn’t mean that the child doesn’t like music or music has no part in his life.  All children love music and music is such an integral part of life. Let the music play on, let the children sing, dance and make music. Just ‘let it go’ in the family.