Music - Feel the Beat

Was He Listening?

There's no question - children, even from within the womb, love music. It's natural for babies to enjoy soothing and pleasant music. If you were near loud and banging music during your pregnancy, you may remember your baby being quite active - perhaps protesting the noise. Science has proven that babies in the womb learn to discern sounds, their parents' voices, as well as music. Babies exposed to the same music their mothers listened to during their gestation recognize the music when it is played for them after they are born. If the mother sang to the baby while in utero, the baby will always respond with familiarity to the song when he or she hears it after birth. How often have you held an infant who, when you started to sing a bright little song, began to bounce in your arms? While not a very scientific method - it is certainly a positive indication that babies and music and motion all go together.

How Babies Love to Play

As babies begin to grow and learn how to handle toys, often the ones they gravitate to most frequently are those that make musical sounds. Music appeals to a child's senses, and as he gets older, it opens the door to imagination and activity. The value of a toy is found in how that toy will affect the child, so buying musical toys, CDs and videos for your child is one of the best ways to aid in your child's development.

By the time your child is a toddler you'll find that when he hears music he'll "dance" to it. Music helps him to become coordinated and to find expression for his body that is fun and natural. If he is in daycare or kindergarten, then he will likely be exposed to music accompanied by actions, dance, or activity of one sort or another. All the while he is exposed to this kind of activity, he is developing rhythm and a sense of his own body - how it moves and how it feels when it moves. He is also learning songs, developing memory by learning the words to songs as well as developing speech in an easy and fun way. And, it's all unconscious on his part - it's natural.

How to Learn What He Loves

A child that shows a strong affinity for music may be found trying his hand at an instrument in the home. If there's a piano, he'll reach to play it - without banging the keys - or he'll gently strum a guitar. Perhaps he'll create his own song and sing along with his playing. While we enjoy the entertainment as parents (and grandparents) the fact is that the child is developing some skills of his own. Should the fascination with music continue, then it is definitely in the child's interest to get him into music lessons at the appropriate time. The skill, discipline and gift being developed will remain with him throughout his life.

How Music Inhances Learning

By giving a child toy instruments at a very young age, it is possible to create a love for music. If the child shows a particular attachment to a certain musical toy, or to singing, then you've gotten a heads'-up as to which venue would be appropriate. It is quite easy to transition a child from a toy to a real instrument when you know what it is he likes to play. The discipline of music lessons creates a framework for a disciplined life as well as enhancing scholastic abilities. Children who study music are found to be more capable of learning in the classroom. They also tend to have enhanced mathematic abilities, probably due to the need to count beats and learn phrasing in music.

Giving your child the gift of music, in a form that will not damage his sensitive hearing but will enhance his love for the art, will help him form a lifetime passion for creating and enjoying the beauty of the sound of music.