Musical Mondays: Starting Early

There is no greater gift than the gift of music.  One of the things that makes music so wonderful is that it has no limits, especially when it comes to age.  Which means, you can start making music with your little one as early as 6 months in utero.  And the sooner you start,  the greater the benefits.

When it comes to music education, starting your little one in music soon after birth can give your child a jump-start on learning.  Like I have mentioned before, we are all born with a natural ability to sing.  Which is why we find that our youngest babies and toddlers can easily learn to match a pitch because they are no yet distracted by formal language, allowing them to easily focus on the task at hand.  Music has the tenancy to encourage babies to speak sooner and more clear as singing enhances how the child enunciates and also brings phonetic awareness.

Young children learn music similarly to the way they learn to speak.  Research and practice have taught us that children who are spoken to will learn to speak and that children who are read to will learn to read.  So, doesn’t it seem obvious that children who are sung to will learn to sing?  Children learn to speak and make music by listening and repeating.  Music also teaches children to make fine distinctions in what they’re hearing.  Training your child’s ear to internalize rhythms and tones at an early age can help children recognize emotion in spoken language later on, helping to promote social and emotional skills.  In addition, music teaches children that they can use a variety of tools to communicate their thoughts and feelings, including sound and movement.

Music classes are a great opportunity for our little ones to become familiar with social settings.  Group music instruction provides a foundation for the development of healthy social skills by encouraging cooperation, turn-taking and sharing.  In the process of singing, dancing and having fun, children learn expectations of how to behave in a structured setting.

While early music teachers agree that musical skill can be learned at any age, natural talent is nourished in environments where children as young as newborns are repeatedly exposed to quality music.  These early experiences provide a foundation for future success as children who get music education from a young age will simply think of music as something they could always do.  Remember, we love what we know.  So through repetition, our little ones gain the confidence they need to build on their musical foundation.

While we are busy enhancing your child’s language, social and emotional development, why not increase spatial intelligence?  Experts say music forms strong connections in the brain that are the same as those used in cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and mathematics.  Music helps the brain lay down neural pathways that will be used later in life or later for higher learning.  Exposure to weekly music education provides a practical foundation for success in a classroom setting as musical activities help children to focus their thinking, encouraging them to follow directions in a fun and creative way.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better?  The incredible benefits of early music education are all happening while you and your baby are enjoying the pleasure of music together.  Does life get any better than that?  So, what are you waiting for…hurry up and get started!  Time is ticking…

This photo was taken by my good friend and talented photographer Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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