How to Help Children Learn About Music
Music is a wonderful way to engage with young children. It has the power to enthral children’s and babies’ minds. The toddler years are a great time to introduce them to music as they acquire new abilities and skills.
There are numerous ways for toddlers to learn some basic skills while trying to get them interested in playing musical instruments, and some of them are:
Feel the Beat
Responding to a musical beat is intrinsic to human nature. Even babies can begin to sense music by moving to a beat, or by having someone help the child feel the beat by gently tapping an arm or a leg.
The easiest thing to do is to find some quality music recordings or songs with a steady beat and have children sway, move, tap, clap, stomp, walk, march or hit an instrument to that beat.
Babies and toddlers love to listen to their parent’s voices and will try to join in even when all they can do is make gurgling noises. As they grow, they will start to join in when they hear their parents sing or play familiar music. Many parents sing lullabies or nursery rhymes to their children.
Toy Musical Instruments
All children love playing with toys, and a great way to nurture their interest in music is to give them toy musical instruments. It does not have to be a high-priced instrument. Children appreciate toys that make different sounds. There are so many instruments available in the market. Other favourites include sound shakers of any kind, maracas, xylophones, tambourines, trumpets, and small keyboards.
An easy option to make the classic drum more Montessori friendly, is by setting up an accessible low cupboard in the kitchen with metal pans, bowls, and wooden spoons – a perennial favourite with infants and toddlers. For example, you can re-create the Montessori sound shakers from painting plastic bottles and filling them with a variety of materials for children to hear differences in sound – think sand, rice, beads – pretty much anything that will fit inside the bottle and be safely sealed. The idea is to ignite that spark and get the interest going while they are young.
Special Playlist for Your Child
You can always create a special playlist on your computer or phone featuring songs your children enjoy and add one or two of your favourites. While it is a good idea to include songs from popular children’s shows and music from their favourite movies the beauty in creating a playlist is the opportunity it affords you to include a variety in the type of music that is included. It is an ideal opportunity to start presenting different music and broadening their experiences. It is vital that you ensure the music within the playlist you create is age appropriate.
Remember children usually come to music through their parents. If you like to listen to music, they will be listening along with you. There are many ways to get children interested in music beyond that. You can use music to distract a distressed toddler, to sooth an upset child or to help them learn new vocabulary. Their interest in music can also be encouraged by getting them to dance, which helps with their muscle development, strength, and balance. Present them with a myriad of opportunities and watch to see what sparks their interests and follow through, musically!