Music is just one of those feel good, memory triggers that helps us put some rhythm in our lives. To say that music and singing play an important role in our culture is understated. From music being so much a part of our lives in movies, TV, theater, car dance parties, holidays, celebrations, and pop culture- music is unequivocally that tie that binds us together and helps shape who we are. Music is so, so important when it comes to kids- from birth, parents instinctively use music to calm and soothe children, to express their love and joy, and to engage and interact. Parents can build on these natural instincts by learning how music can impact child development, improve social skills, and benefit kids of ALL ages.
The Benefit of Music
Music ignites all the areas of child development including intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and helps the body and the mind work together seamlessly. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of word (remember those headphones on your bump with Bach in-utero?) Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills (major + for the adults). In addition to the other benefits of music, it also provides us with happiness. Just think about listening to a good song on the car radio with the windows down on a beautiful day- thats pure happiness!
Developmental Benefits of Music
For toddlers and preschoolers, music making can be an awesome social learning experience. Making music together, learning to work as a team while they each contribute to the song in their own way. At the same time, music helps children learn that together they can make something larger than the sum of its parts and coordinate in a group setting. Additional benefits include learning cooperation, sharing, compromise, creativity, and concentration – skills that become invaluable as they enter school, face new challenges, and begin to form new friendships and develop socially. Children of all ages express themselves through music. Playing music for infants proves that, even at an early age, children sway, bounce, or move their hands in response to music they hear. Many preschoolers make up songs and, with no self-consciousness, sing to themselves as they play. Kids in elementary school learn to sing together as a group and possibly learn to play a musical instrument. Older children dance to the music of their favorite rock bands and use music to form friendships and share feelings.
- Infants and Music. Infants recognize the melody of a song long before they understand words. They often try to mimic sounds and start moving to the music as soon as they are physically able. Quiet, background music can be soothing for infants, especially at sleep timer while loud background music may cause overstimulation. You can sing simple, short songs to infants in a high, soft voice as well as make up one or two lines about bathing, dressing, or eating to sing to them while you do these activities.
- Toddlers and Music. Toddlers love to DANCE and move to music. The key to toddler music is the repetition of songs which encourages the use of words and memorization. Silly songs make them laugh- sometimes uncontrollably! Try singing a familiar song and inserting a silly word in the place of the correct word, like “Humpty Lumpty” instead of Dumpty. Let them reproduce rhythms by clapping or tapping objects.
- Preschoolers and Music. Preschoolers enjoy singing just to be singing. They aren’t self-conscious about their ability and are eager to let their voices roar. They like kids’ songs that repeat words and melodies, rhythms with a definite beat, and words that ask them to do things. Preschool children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about familiar things like toys, animals, play activities, and people.
- School-Age Children and Music. Most school-age children are intrigued by songs that involve counting, spelling, or remembering a sequence of events. Songs and musical activities with other school subjects also are effective during this child developmental stage. School-age children begin expressing their likes and dislikes of different types of music and they may express an interest in taking music lessons. Watch out for the recorder.
- Teenagers and Music. Teenagers may use musical experiences to form friendships, and to set themselves apart from parents and younger kids- can use music to find their individuality. School-agers and teenagers might need a reminder to keep the volume down, they can get pretty raucous :).
kidzxplor Music Options
At kidzxplor we believe that music is a way to be an individual, to figure out what you love, and to have fun while doing it. We take Music pretty seriously! kidzxplor Partners with a wide variety of Partners that offer different types of music classes and activities to keep you rocking! A couple of those Partners are listed below with information on their programs. All can be booked via kidzxplor.
Robert’s Music Together (3 Locations)- CRC- Central West End, Shirlee Green Preschool– Creve Coeur, University United Methodist– University City– Designed for infants through 4 year olds, our Music Together classes build on your child’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement. They will do their best to help you provide your child with the basic musical skills needed to enjoy school and social musical activities, and to study an instrument should he or she choose to do so.
Milder Musical Arts– Chesterfield– Milder is committed to the proper education of music to young students. Young children, ages birth – 5, begin in the research based early childhood program, Music Together®. When children are 4 to 5 years old their families may choose to join a Junior Jammers class that explores piano, guitar and percussion and which moves them into the nationally known Harmony Road Music Curriculum – keyboard/singing classes for children in Pre – K through 2nd grade..
Gymboree Play and Music– Webster Groves– Programs that inspire creativity, confidence and friendship. Gymboree offers expertly designed play, art, music, sports and school readiness classes for children birth-five. Their class curriculum is developed by experienced child development program directors and incorporate a balanced whole-child approach with activities to support what your child is mastering right now and what he or she will aspire to later.
Parenting Resources– St. Louis City– Empowering Parents. Empowering the Next Generation. A place where mothers, fathers, children, and caregivers feel embraced with open arms and would be empowered by a wide array of services including Toddler Music and Movement.
Rhythm and Ruach- Creve Coeur, Chesterfield– Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach connects children to Judaism through upbeat, high energy, and interactive music and movement. Children and their grown-up partners in class will participate in drumming, tambourines, shakers, parachutes, and more.
School of Rock- Kirkwood & Ballwin– School of Rock teaches kids to play music through a combination of one on one lessons and group instruction where you can apply what you’ve learned. They believe live perforamance is the most fun and effective way to teach an instrument, so they get kids playing on stage as quickly as possible. Classes are tailored to all age groups and levels of proficiency, and instructors are professional musicians that are passionate about helping students succeed in music and beyond.
Dave Simons Rock School– Olivette- Since their start in 2003, Dave Simon has fostered a spirit of curiosity, empowerment, and confidence in his students. They are best known for our performance-based music programs and summer camps for ages 4 and up- also offering lessons for guitar, drums, piano, bass and voice. Dave Simon’s Rock School is home of the internationally acclaimed licensing programs Kidzrock (ages 4-7) and Jr. Rockerz (ages 7-12). Curriculum combines rock ‘n’ roll fun and creativity with high academic standards.
There’s absolutely no downside to bringing children and music together. From the pure pleasure of listening to soothing sounds and rhythmic harmonies, to gaining new language and social skills, whatever the setting – a quiet room at home with mom and dad, a large grassy field filled with people, or a busy classroom – music can enrich the lives of children and the people who care for them. #getoutthere