Early Musical Experiences
Have you ever met someone who doesn't enjoy music?
Me neither. Humans seem born to groove and as the genres continue to expand and evolve, it seems there is a style for everyone's taste or mood. There's plenty of research out there to show how music supports infant and child development and even research to support how music can support us as we age. I will save you the details of the research, but let's just say for anything you want to achieve, music will help along the way if you let it.
We have nursery rhymes that teach the basic beat, melody, phonemic and grammatical structures to our babies in a way that improve bonding and caregiver connections. We have songs to help us follow directions. We have songs that keep us on task. We have songs that just make us feel good. Personally, I love using music to narrate my daily activities. And you don't need to be able to carry a tune for your child to benefit; they will love it regardless.
Every day, I start our day with our mini tabla (drum) and a song, which calls my family to our little gathering space in a sunny spot by a large window. I encourage my baby to explore a few instruments while I sing and we stretch a little before going about our daily routine. Our morning song and yoga stretch usually blends into a story time before heading on a walk outside. Later on and throughout the dance, we take breaks to dance, sing about what's happening or how we're feeling. Lunch meal prep often involves a song and dance, along with any cleaning. I find it's an easy way to transform boring tasks into lively entertainment, whether it's through music on a speaker or my own made up tune.
As early as 9 or 10 months, many babies will start to "dance" by moving to a melody and may even show some preferences for music types. By encouraging your child to dance and explore music, you will watch their communication and body awareness progress as they try new moves or discover new beats. Children of all ages benefit from the predictable patterns of music and the fun, relaxed atmosphere it creates.
Some of my favorite songs for children include many tunes from Raffi and similar artists. I've turned "Baby Beluga" into my greeting song for Tiya when I pick her up from the babysitter, or whenever she needs an up beat pick-me-up song. Disney songs always support your imagination and can really dig into some deep emotions. Many parents swear by Cocomelon, although I will admit, I haven't been able to get into that trend yet.
If you don't have instruments around, it's easy to turn everyday objects into instruments. Pots and empty formula cans are excellent drums. Spoons and spatulas are great sticks. Throw some beans or rice into a jar and glue it shut, perfect shakers! You'll be surprised how much you can create in the kitchen. Let your child lead the way and see where their imagination goes.
Are you looking for a way to foster a musical lifestyle with your child? I am now offering virtual Zumbini classes to help nurture both your bond with your child and musicality. During our class, you can learn how easy it is to incorporate music into your daily life and watch the benefits over time. Many of the classes will use similar songs but with a different twist each time so you can experience how to create your own routines around music based on what works for you.
Find out more by either emailing me or visiting the link below to sign up!