Getting Started with Music Lessons to Support Early Childhood Development
Music is a fundamental part of the human experience. Playing music lets us express ourselves and share ideas, not to mention connect with others. What’s more, playing and listening to music can help ease anxiety, release stress, boost mood, and help improve memory. Children are no exception!
Many parents-to-be play classical music while their baby is still in the womb. As infants grow and learn and play, Mozart and other classical music mainstays are a common soundtrack. The popular “Mozart effect,” the idea that listening to classical music improves intelligence, is hard to substantiate.
However, learning to play an instrument and creating music is another story entirely! Musical activities at a daycare in Ottawa are a great way to start your kids on a musical path. Getting your children involved in playing and creating music is an amazing way to help enrich their development. Supporting their musical life starts at home, so here’s what you can do to support your own little Mozart:
Language and Fine Motor Skills
Like music, language has a rhythm and comprises smaller parts that create a larger structure and meaning. We learn music much in the same way we learn a language. It takes repetition, practice, and focus. Even preverbal infants respond to a rhythmic pattern of music and speech suggesting that early childhood musical experiences have far-reaching benefits for your child. In fact, a study of children aged 8 and under with two years of regular music classes were found to respond better to consonant sounds than their peers who started music training a year later.
Likewise, the motions required to play an instrument helps children develop fine motor skills. Another study found that daycare-age children who began music lessons gained a better awareness
Social and Emotional Development
Group lessons are a great foundation for children as they learn alongside their peers. Since playing and listening to music have been shown to ease stress and reduce negative emotions, group classes can assist in building friendships and can teach children how to cooperate.
One-on-one training with a dedicated teacher can have added benefits, too. Children who choose to learn an instrument have been found to be less anxious and seem to internalize problems less than their peers. With positive, supportive instruction and a focus on meeting goals, learning an instrument can help a child feel more at ease and have a clearer mind for problem-solving.
Getting Your Child Started
If your toddler likes to drum on pots and pans, then your child is ready to make music! Remember that not all instrument experiences require a formal instrument. One of the best ways to introduce a child to music is finding items in your home that will make different sounds. Pots and pans for clanging, wax paper over a comb for a homemade kazoo, or a rubber band guitar—they’re all great ways to have a bit of fun and start a passion! Of course, no one can deal banging and clanging all the time, so be sure to set boundaries for loud music time. Get creative and allow time for noise.
Age Appropriate Classes or Groups
Consider parent and tot group music classes to get your youngest excited and connected with other children. Daycare in Ottawa is a great place to encourage children to explore expression and experience of music. Think ahead to summer and seek out music camps that will help your child build their skills and knowledge.
Formal Lessons and Instrument sharing
Finally, for one-on-one instruction and dedicated practice, find a trusted teacher that will work with your child as the not only develop their musical skills but all the additional benefits that were discussed above. And if you aren’t sure yet about investing in an instrument, look for sharing programs. The Ottawa Public Library offers a variety of string, percussion, and keyboard instruments that can be loaned out for three weeks at a time.
Introduce musical instruments to your child’s development and watch how their dexterity, language skills, and socio-emotional development improve. Remember, music’s social and personal. As your child grows into their own musical tastes, interests, and passions, they will have a strong foundation to help them express themselves, solve logic and other problems, and better attend to their emotional well-being.