How many children’s songs do you know? Did you know that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep and ABC are the same tune, written by Mozart? What songs do you remember from childhood? If you have children, do you sing to them or expose them to music?
Most adults can typically name only four or five children’s songs that they know well and admit that not only were they not exposed to music in childhood but that there is little of it in their home today. I believe that human beings are naturally musical but that musicality needs to be nurtured.
One of the simplest ways to cultivate the love of music in a child is to sing to them at home or play a tune when the child is an infant. Research has shown that even in utero a baby can hear and respond to music. A newborn baby, at least my newborn babies, sleep well with calming classical compositions in the background or the gentle voice of his or her mother, father or siblings.
After a short time, many babies graduate to music classes. Children’s music classes are popular throughout North America. It has actually become quite a business. I have been taking my kids to these classes for over ten years. Some are better than others and all are a great way to get a new mother out of the house and give her a great activity with her baby.
Whether the music class is a short session with a bunch of well-known children’s songs or a more in-depth course in music, singing and voice training, I feel everyone should try to expose their child to at least one session. The City of Toronto Public Library offers free (that’s right FREE) drop-in 30-minute “Move-and-Groove” classes for children aged 0-6. My one-year-old goes to that one all the time.
All three of my kids have benefitted most from a great program called “Making Music Together.” I won’t go into its history but you can read about it HERE. As the website states, the program is about “songs, chants, movement & instruments in a relaxed, fun, interactive environment.” Because of this program my children have all expressed their musicality in their own special way.
Walking into a Music Together class is quite an experience, though that may be the case for most baby and children’s music classes. The caregivers and children sit around in a circle and over a 45-minute period sing, dance and play instruments. Note that I say caregivers AND children. Each week, as I sit around this circle with my baby I chuckle to myself as I watch grown men and women, many with Masters degrees, MD’s or other professional designations, bark like dogs, tap little wooden sticks on their heads and skip around the room.
We spend years growing up, working hard to become mature adults, then at our children’s music class all pressures of adulthood are released. We can sing and dance and be free. It’s not just the children who benefit from music but the adults too. Lately I sing all day, all be it songs entitled Wiggle, See the Pony Galloping and Shake those ‘Simmons Down. Music energizes me and makes me feel good. I know it does the same for my children. Try singing one day, even to yourself. It’s worth it.