One of the things parents often ask me as a music teacher is whether I think early childhood music education is important.
- Will this make my child more musical?
- Will it help them learn an instrument later on?
And, the most important question,
- Will it really make them better at math?
The answer to all these questions, based both on my own experience as a teacher and mother, and the on many scientific studies, is yes, it will.
Let´s see what the experts say…
Music activates every region of the unborn baby´s brain.– Prof. Dr. Franz Krainer - prenatal specialist
The last stage in which a child is capable of developing perfect pitch is four and a half years old. The best time is between three and three and a half.– Naoyuki and Ruth Taneda - Erziehung zum absolutem Gehör
I was constantly exposed to my mother´s singing. I took it in in the womb. I drank it with my mother´s milk.– Yehudi Menuhin - violinist and conductor
Music for and with children isn´t a question of musicality because every child is musical.– Dorothée Kreusch-Jacab - Das Musikbuch für Kinder
So what is the best way to do this?
We know that the vast majority of neurological hardware is laid down before birth and in the first months afterward. Developing this system occupies the next four years. We can stimulate the brain to richer development using the elements of melody, rhythm and movement. Each one alone will work, but the more we combine them the more complex the neurological pathways become that we are asking the brain to form. Weekly singing in a church with traditional four-part harmony, for example, lays the perfect groundwork for understanding spatial mathematics, but we don´t all have that luxury!
I´ve put together a simple checklist for you, so you can be sure your little ones aren´t missing any of the developmental benefits you can provide for them.
- Choose music classes which combine singing with dance or movement.
- Learn the songs and sing them at home. Repetition is important.
- Keep it relaxed and fun. This is your time to share the love!
- Don´t stress. Even if they never sing a single note, they´re still listening.
- Have a good acoustic instrument available in your home for the tots to experiment on and interact with.
- And the best advice is, turn off the sound system and sing and play yourself!
Your own beautiful voice is exponentially more effective at developing your child´s musicality than a CD.
A final word out of my own experience of being a mum of toddlers. This time might seem like it will never end, but believe me, it will soon be gone forever. Sometimes we miss the importance of this age until it’s too late. Let me encourage you to take every chance you have to give them the best possible start. ?