The Benefits of Music for Children
Incorporating music into your child’s everyday life is a great way to encourage creativity and has long-term benefits extending beyond home and in the classroom. Parents and educators do not need to be experts in this musical foundation to be successful in providing children with positive musical experiences. Rebecca Freeman, author of the article, Elements of a Musical Foundation for Children, discusses various aspects of music and how parents and educators can integrate these aspects with a variety of activities for children. Beats, tempos, dynamics, voice channels, sounds and styles, and even critical and creative thinking can all be taught to children through singing, dance and movement, and numerous instruments.
Beats and tempos are some of the easier aspects of music to teach to children. When it comes to musical beats, a heartbeat is a wonderful first example and something a child is exposed to all of his or her life. Infants can feel the beat with their bodies when they are bounced or swayed and older children can put their own hand to their chest and feel their heartbeat. Once children have mastered the steady beat have them run around and then march to the sound of their new heartbeat. Speeding up or slowing down a familiar song is a fun and easy way to teach children tempo. Another great way to enforce the idea of tempo is to have children move to the speed of a song by tiptoeing, marching, or running around.
Establishing a Foundation in Music
Rebecca Freeman offers several activities for teaching children about dynamics, voice channels, and different sounds and styles. Teaching children about loud and quiet sounds can add a lot of excitement to the home or classroom. Children who are easily excitable will enjoy learning about loud sounds first while quiet or shy children may feel more comfortable beginning with a quiet dynamic. Shakers are great instruments for teaching the difference between loud and quiet dynamics. Emphasizing the difference between shouting, talking, whispering, and singing is key in teaching children about voice channels. While this skill will need to be practiced often, it will help children in the long run when it comes to following directions- something parents and educators can appreciate! Children must also be exposed to different sounds and styles. This can be accomplished by playing child-friendly songs in a variety of genres such as jazz, rock, blues, and classical just to name a few.
Benefits of a Musical Foundation for Children
Critical and creative thinking are some of the most significant benefits when introducing children to music. Music teaches children basic problem-solving skills and aids in memory retention. Parents and educators can check on a child’s musical development by assessing ear training, substitution, and movement. Encouraging children to play back a beat or rhythm they have heard is a great way to introduce the skill of ear training. Substituting words in common songs is another way to assess a child’s musical development. Finally, movement and dance with and without objects fosters creativity and self-growth. Early exposure to music and its elements has amazing short and long-term benefits for children. For more information on musical development in children visit Freeman’s article, Elements of a Musical Foundation for Children.