Parent Watercooler: Music Matters

Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador
These creative play tips for music-time fun
are brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written
by our Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington.

Make everyday activities an adventure! -Zina                    

 

Band-in-a-Box

Triangle from Band-in-a-Box

Music matters. As parents of young children, we are often tied up in prepping our kids for academic success: we count, we go over the ABCs, we read lots of books. Music can tie all of these things together and offer children so much more.

Today we share 5 benefits of bringing the power of music into your home. There is nothing quite like hearing your little one happily singing, especially if they don’t know you’re listening. I remember the jumbled toddler version of Twinkle Little Star my daughter used to belt out. Such precious moments! Children inherently love music.

Let’s work together to facilitate and build on that innate passion.
How can you take advantage of the power of music?

1. Use music as a way to make learning fun. There is a reason we sing the ABCs! My fellow Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador, Allison of No Time for Flashcards has a wonderful selection of ways to pull learning and music together. However, music can serve to teach children advanced mathematics as well. New studies show that music can help kids grasp fractions.

Set a Designated Amount of Time2. Use music to help children release energy. Looking for a way to handle a drab, rainy day? Pull out your musical instruments and jam as a way to get the wiggles out. Have a full-fledged dance party! Don’t forget to pull out the trusty maracas.

If you know the noise level is going to eventually get to you, start the party by asking, “Should we play for 5 or 10 minutes?” Let the child decide and then set a timer. If your child feels put out when the timer goes off, be sure to show empathy and declare, “What a bummer! Time to clean up. Let’s try this again tomorrow.”

3. Use music to teach concentration and attention to detail. Spend time listening to music with your children. Point out the different instruments combined to make up a song. As always, be sure to choose music that you enjoy. If you enjoy rock or country, don’t feel compelled to sit and listen to classical music with your children. You want your enthusiasm for the music to shine through.

Learn-to-Play Piano

Learn-to-Play Piano

4. Use music to help children express emotion. As children get older, you can discuss how music can help express feelings. Simply demonstrate how certain octaves on their toy piano each seem to create a sense of emotion.

Work together playing low (sad) or high (happy) sounds. You can practice this technique by having your child tell a family tale, such as The Three Little Bears, using their piano to showcase how the different characters feel.

After practicing with a traditional tale, ask your child to play how they feel. I occasionally sit at our full size piano with my girls and have “conversations” with them using just the keys. You’ll be shocked at how quickly children can pick-up these games. Long term, children can express emotions by writing their own compositions or through song choice.

“Music is the art of thinking with sounds.” {Jules Combarieu}
Tweet Quote

Beeposh Hope Teddy Bear & Blanket

Beeposh Hope Teddy Bear & Blanket

5. Opportunity for family fun. Children love to perform. Use this opportunity to create a family band. The performers can include the entire family, siblings only, or even a solo act.

Make the event grand. Pull together all the kitchen chairs for theater seating, serve snacks, and demand the children practice before the big show. Audience members can be live or stuffed!

Over at Let’s Lasso the Moon I often say, “Children reflect the light of their universe.” If you are passionate about music, your children will be too. Take the time when your children are young to explore different instruments, styles of music, and variations of expression. It is a playful and fulfilling way to grow as a family.

Do you have any additional suggestions? Let’s chat in the comments.


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Zina from Let's Lasso the MoonZina Harrington is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments.

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Comments

  1. I remember how much fun it was to do mommy and me music classes and that introducing music at a young age helps to develop the brain.

    In fact, research has shown that if kids are not exposed to music (particularly fixed pitch instruments such as the piano) by age 10, those neural pathways close forever.

    One example is perfect pitch hearing. It is both a genetic gift and something that needs to be developed. If your child has the propensity for perfect pitch hearing but was never exposed to a fixed pitch instrument (say piano lessons) by age 10, the child will never have or be able to develop perfect pitch hearing though relative pitch hearing can be developed at any age (knowing the note relative to another).

    Why would perfect pitch hearing be useful? Relative pitch instruments such a violin, flute etc. rely on the musician finding the pitch but my sister, who has perfect pitch hearing, is able to take any jingle or song that she hears and immediately — with the greatest of ease — bang it out on the piano.

    Music is a precious gift to kids that starts with a joyful activity to do adults whether at home or in a class. I really like your ideas to introduce music to kids at a young age.

    • Thank you so much for these insights. We agree – exposing children to music at a young age is so critical, and for them it can feel a lot of fun, too!

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