Baby L. comes from a musical family - Daddy plays guitar, and so does Grandpa J. (You can hear a clip of Grandpa J. here!) Great Grandpa E. plays the clarinet, and her Great Uncle T. plays drums. There's even a family band and a few albums that Grandpa J. made in his recording studio! Mommy was a band geek in high school and college, and her Grandpa K. knows every piece of trivia you ever could imagine about every jazz, blues, soul, and rock and roll artist ever.
So it's in Baby L.'s blood and it shows. She LOVES music.
To foster her love of music, Baby L. has a box of her own instruments that she often goes to. We always have music on in our house, and she'll often start dancing in the middle of doing something else when she hears a good tune! She'll even pick up her instruments and play along, sometimes she'll even "sing."
Here are some tips for supporting musical kids in your family or classroom:
1. Have music on whenever you can
2. Play lots of different kinds of music, even if they aren't your personal preferences
3. Talk about the music. Name and talk about the instruments you hear if you can
4. Clap, dance, and sing along with the music
5. Make a box of instruments - it's easy! (see below)
6. If you can, seek out music classes in your neighborhood or town. Often the local library, school, or YMCA offers music classes or sing-a-longs for free, or for low cost. It's great for your child to see other kids and grown-ups who like to sing and dance as much as they do.
7. Encourage your child to make up songs! (Even those "songs" that you don't think really sound like songs).
Some instruments you can make:
1. Fill an old plastic bottle with beads, pasta, beans, or coins to make a shaker. Use a drop of glue to seal the cap on so that your baby or toddler can't get it open.
2. Save the tubes from your paper towels. We call them Der-Der Tubes in our house because you can hold them up to your mouth and sing "Der der der der!" An instant trumpet!
3. Cookie tins make great drums - so do oatmeal containers!
4.Good ol' pots and pans are always fun to bang on!
5. You can clap two blocks together to make a great sound along with the beat of a fun song.
6. Your child's baby rattles can go into their instrument box as they get older.
All this music is great for a budding reader or writer, believe it or not. Lyrics to songs build vocabulary, as well as oral language fluency and expression. Clapping, dancing, and playing instruments along to the beat of a song supports phonological awareness - hearing the sounds in language. Just google "music and baby brain development" and a zillion academic research articles appear. Whether you buy into the "Mozart effect" or not, music is a great way to engage your little one in the world of language, words, communication, and fun!
Note: (I personal feel that the catch phrase "Mozart effect" it is a bit oversimplified - though it sounds wonderful, and there are some intriguing studies on the short and long term effects of listening to classical music. Some researchers explain that simply playing Mozart to your baby is not going to make her smarter. However, families who provide music, singing, a love of those kinds of things, are likely to be the kinds of families who provide lots of other great support too - books, language, stories, and lots more.)