Music (& movement) at group time was always a favorite time for the kidlets. Truthfull, I’ve got to say I loved it just as much. But, as with EVERYTHING associated with early childhood education, there was more than just FUN going on during this time!
Notice the picture? Guess what we’re singing and doing here? Building a shack that’s breakin’ our back! Listen below!
Many of our songs were a ‘call and response’ type. These are perfect songs to help kiddos develop their listening skills. It also helps introduce them to and develop different musical skills such as:
•singing (vs shouting)
•understanding and/or feeling the beat
•experience in varying the tempo and pitch of songs and
•how to echo back (respond) to what they hear
Language development & Literacy
Music is a language unto itself, a powerful language, one you’ll definitely want to encourage in your child! When children learn to play music their brains develop differently than if they hadn’t had a music education. Immersing your child in a music-rich environment enhances their natural decoding of sounds and words, improving their language development.
Kidlets are actively engaged when making music. Learning how to play an instrument for example, they begin to hear and process sounds that they wouldn’t otherwise hear. Being attuned and able to distinguish more easily between sounds is a skill that will boost literacy efforts.
The whole child is involved when making music. Music isn’t created in isolation: in addition to their ears, gross and/or fine motor skills are required; plus eye-hand coordination is needed. A music education provides multiple benefits to children! Young children’s exposure to music usually involves singing and playing instruments (like rhythm sticks or shakers) OR singing AND movement. Action songs develop their proprioception, coordination, and vestibular system all important functions that help children have knowledge of where their bodies are in space as well as control over their bodies.
Children are hard-wired to PLAY –risky play at that! So too, are their brains hard-wired to receive and decode music via playing an instrument and listening to music. Additionally, playing an instrument and/or listening to music stimulates their cortex, the area of their brain responsible for higher thought and development.
A child’s whole brain is involved in music: The right brain creatively expressing itself by playing music; the left making (logical) decisions while playing an instrument and, later, reading sheet music. When both sides of the brain work together, brain function is optimized.
Children that create music seem to have the ability to recognize patterns more readily and are more proficient in spatial intelligence than their non-musically trained peers. Recognizing, understanding and having a knowledge of patterns are key to mental skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, logic and spatial intelligence—important concepts in and capabilities for mathematics.
Music gives children a way to express their feelings when they can’t find –or maybe don’t know—the words to use. Hap Palmer’s My Mommy Comes Back is a perfect example of how a song can fill how a young child might feel being dropped off at the beginning of a new preschool year. Music nurtures. And it works both ways, it can be a wonderful outlet AND it can foster more awareness for other’s feelings as well.
Referring back to the ‘call and response’ type song above. It also has the added benefit of helping kiddos develop their impulse control. Ella Jenkins’ is one of my favorite for children’s songs, especially call and response songs—“The Hi-de-ho Man” being an easy one to introduce the style of song to the kidlets.
Language development and math readiness are part of a child’s cognitive development. Another aspect of their cognitive development impacted by music is memory. Because of the way our brains store information, the more associations or connections attributed to what’s being remembered, the more neurons are involved and the more pathways of retrieving that information are available.
Think about (how dull) it’d be and how challenging it’d be to only have the words on this page. Instead, I’ve added photos—you know the saying: A picture’s worth a thousand words. Photos can evoke emotions and memories of their own. Also, I’ve included audio clips. So you’ve been given extra sensory input along with the print information as a way of making it easier to remember…and more enjoyable to read!
Similarly when children have a music education, either through song or instrument, they are giving their brains the opportunity to develop their memories. Also, another saying: Practice makes perfect….repetition strengthens the brain’s neurons making whatever’s being practiced not something that needs to be ‘remembered’ so much as just done because it’s moved into the subconscious.
How many of you still have to sing the melody of the ABCs when trying to think what letter comes next? Music and learning are a powerful combination! That being said, I’m not advocating 4 hours of piano practice for your preschooler or daily classical music for your as-yet-to-be-born child.
Approach introducing your child to music like you do with PLAY—in organic and natural way.
•Expose them to music—a wide range of styles as well as instrumentals and a cappellas;
•Give them access to simple instruments; and
•Encourage them to sing along to songs and/or make up their own
•Readily share your own enjoyment!
Yes, music does have the ability to be a turbo booster when it comes to learning, but it’s much more—it’s something you and your child can experience and have FUN together!
How does your child enjoy music the most? Singing, playing an instrument or moving to music? And it’s okay with me if they have more than one most!
Yours in PLAY!