Children Making Music
The joy and innocence that comes from the experience of creating music, and sharing it with others is second to none. But as an elementary school music teacher (and a parent to four young children), I find that many parents love music, but don't know how to nurture their children's natural musical abilities.
Nothing is more natural than children making music
A young child's brain is well equipped to understand musical activities. What does that mean? Everyone is able to create music. Many studies have revealed that even young infants possess musical capabilities. The improvised musical games and songs that children create, demonstrate their predisposition to music, even before they attend kindergarten.
How can you help your child develop these important skills?
- Let your children listen to kids music. A lot. It is all about repetition. When you have gotten to the point that you are sick to death of a song and can sing it in your sleep - your child is just starting to feel comfortable enough to sing out loud and explore their voice. They will surprise you and all of a sudden be able to sing the song in its entirety.
- Take the time to find good quality recordings. Songs that don't go too high or too low. Children have a very limited range, and most tuning problems (singing out of tune), are because the child does not have the proper muscles to sing the notes they are trying to sing.
- Encourage them to explore their voice. Be the example and explore your own. Children will be comfortable making music if you are comfortable. They will also pick up on your passion (or lack thereof!)
- Let them make noise. What annoys you is a learning experience for them. They will create their own music with toys, pots, pans, hands, feet ...
Why is it important to help our children explore music?
As children grow older and they begin a formal music education in school, they will develop important skills such as abstract thinking, problem solving, self-discipline, and team work. There is nothing more rewarding than accomplishing a goal, and music helps to teach children the steps that they need to achieve the desired degree of success in their lives. Children learn a great deal by being members of a community. By working with others to create beautiful music, children learn many lifelong skills, including: cooperation, acceptance and tolerance.
When students get together to rehearse, they learn to cooperate in the context of a forthcoming concert. When they care for their instruments they learn a form of responsibility. When they modulate their voices so they do not stick out in concert, they sacrifice their own ego for the good of the performance as a whole. When they commit themselves to practice, they learn a sense of responsibility. When they assist each other, they develop a form of shared expertise. (Eisner, 2001)
Nuturing a child's musical abilities introduces traits that will be valued when children become adults. It allows children "to experience all that is human as it inspires them, turns on their senses and emotions, opens their minds, and reaches into their inner selves” (Lindeman, 1998). Music is a way to communicate, and helps to encourage students to explore the depth of their emotions. (Can we say, Glee?) Music is about being touched, being moved, and sharing that magical experience.
And thanks to you, your child's foundation in music has been laid for the rest of their lives.
I thought I would share some examples of my kids making music. Enjoy!
How do you teach your children about music?
Eisner, E. (2001). Music education six months after the turn of the century. International Journal of Music Education, 37, 5-12.
Lindeman, C. (1998). Front lines: ‘At the core.’ Music Educators Journal, 84, 6-7.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia.org