all in one.
Avenues for interaction and education are not as straightforward when you’re living in an unfamiliar place and structured classes for things like music can be difficult to find.
The great news is, there’s lots of things you can do at home to start to introduce musical concepts to your little one,
even if you’re no maestro yourself!
1. Play lots of music – Have music on in the home as much as you can and don’t think it has to
be ‘kids’ music. The more varied the better, from classical through jazz, to rock and
pop….it’s so much fun to watch their reactions and see how little people respond to
different moods and sounds.
2. Sing Sing Sing! – Sing all the time. Make up a silly song to wake them up in the mornings, or
create a funny cleaning up song, a bath time song, a getting dressed song and of course
don’t forget the lullaby at bedtime. The possibilities are endless and it’s amazing how
responsive little people can be to tasks when they’re presented this way! Remember this
isn’t about being a great singer, your child doesn’t care if you can sing in tune or not, they
just think it’s fun and it will make them more comfortable using their voice and that is what
it’s all about.
3. Move to music – you are your child’s greatest teacher and they will copy what you do. If
you model movements that reflect what you are hearing you’ll not only help your child listen
to and internalise music, you’ll also help their gross motor skills and coordination.
4. You’ve got the rhythm – expanding on moving to music, start to get children to clap, stamp
or pat in time with the beat. You can also make up fun games where you clap a rhythmic
pattern and then they can clap it back to you. Once they get the hang of this, have them
make up rhythms for you to copy.
5. Percussion Instruments – when children are young, it’s not necessary to have musical
instruments like a piano or guitar (although they’re great if you have them around).
Percussion instruments are a great way for them to have fun and begin learning. A basic set
including things like a drum, triangle, castanets, claves (clapping sticks) bells, a tambourine
cymbals and a xylophone are a great way to start understanding how sounds are made. If
you find yourself on the move again, these aren’t too hard to pack up and take with you.
6. Encourage listening – Hearing isn’t the same as listening. It’s something that we often don’t
think so much about, but asking children to listen carefully to something and then asking
some questions about it can really start to train their ear and their brains in a way that will
help them develop musically. It could be anything, a noise outside on the street, an animal
or something musical.
7. Nursery rhymes – there’s a great wealth of songs and rhymes available in books and CD’s as
well of course the wonderful resource of the internet, use them, practise them, make them
part of your everyday routine. Nursery rhymes often have an easy singing range and they
teach children vocabulary and language as well as singing.
The most important thing to remember is that to give your child a great start in music you don’t
have to be a great singer or be able to read music yourself. You just have to make it part of their
daily life. The big concepts like rhythm, pitch (understanding low sounds and high sounds), tempo
(fast and slow), and being able to actively listen are all wonderful building blocks to later musical
learning and of course above all …just have fun!
About the author:
Amy Baker is a piano and early childhood music teacher with over 25 years’ experience.
Amy is a mother of two who spent time living as an expat in South Korea when her children were
young. It was here she developed her early childhood music program which has been recently
Mindset on Music for Minis is available for subscription at Amy’s website