Raising a Musical Child

IN RHYTHM: Raising a Musical Child

Music is a universal human gift.  Cultures all over the world have their own ways of creating music.  Music helps us connect with each other, express our emotions, define our experiences and mark important events.  The first sound we ever hear is musical – the rhythm of our mother’s heartbeat is the soundtrack of our beginning.

And yet, many people feel the ability to make music is reserved for a select few – the “musicians” of the world.  Many believe that only some are born with natural talent. In fact, all children are musical. We are all born with the wiring needed to develop musical skills (barring a disability that limits movement or sound production).  These natural abilities need to be nurtured over time, ideally before age six.  Given the right learning opportunities, almost all children can learn to sing in tune and keep a steady beat.

You don’t have to think of yourself as a “musician” to raise a musical child.  Children learn the most from the modelling of their loved ones – seeing you be musical is the ultimate inspiration.  And they learn through play (not “practice”), so the most important thing is to have fun.  Here are some simple ways you can support your child’s musical development, regardless of your own experience.

  • Sing with your child
  • Dance with your child
  • Acknowledge your child’s musical behaviours
  • Provide a variety of musical experiences

Join Music Class

Early childhood music classes can be a wonderful source of inspiration, fun and community.  If the songs and activities are age-appropriate and the teacher is knowledgeable, a class can provide a rich learning environment for your musical family to grow together.

Know That it’s Important

When you provide your child ample opportunities to develop his musical abilities, you help him develop confidence and self-esteem.  He will not be embarrassed to sing “Happy Birthday,” and he will be much more successful at learning an instrument at school.  He will have an early start at literacy and math skills.

Perhaps most importantly, music-making promotes family bonding, happiness and wellness.  even if the memories fade, the positive feelings associated with music will live on.

Abridged article by Heidi McCurdy courtesy of Urbanbaby & Toddler Magazine Fall 2014 issue

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