Music at Home
By: Meredith Roman Pizzi, MT-BC
Parents are often amazed at how musical their children are and how much they enjoy listening, dancing, and singing to music. Maybe music is already an important part of your home, but as a Board Certified Music Therapist, I want to use this opportunity to share with you a few ways in which music can benefit your child in his or her development.
Children should be exposed to all different types of quality music. You’ll never know if they like classical, bluegrass, country western, classic rock, or rhythm and blues unless you expose them to it. Let them express their likes and dislikes appropriately.
Always play good quality music and try to avoid imitation electronic music which is often used in children’s recordings. Young children especially should listen to the different sounds of guitars, pianos, drums, violins, and horns and not be limited by hearing only electronic reproductions of such sounds. There is good quality electronic music being composed today, but if it is a classical composition being played electronically, it would be better to listen to the original format, the way Mozart, or Bach, or Chopin, intented it.
When you choose familiar children’s songs on CD’s, listen to the music first to be sure that the tempo, or speed, of the music is slow enough for a child to understand, comprehend, and imitate the words. Music can be a great aide in language development; however, often children’s music is performed so fast that there is no way a two year old could sing along.
Songs with movements are great for young children and it is a wonderful way to teach imitation and fine and gross motor skills. Lap rides also provide a great deal of sensory stimulation as they bounce and ride to the music teaching them timing, rhythm, structure and routine.
With all songs, repeat, repeat, repeat! We grow tired of songs and experiences much more quickly than our young children. By repeating a lap ride or a familiar tune multiple times, you are giving your child the opportunity to participate and learn on each repetition. Anytime a song is introduced to a young child, it takes multiple hearings before a child will be able to anticipate the next part of the song, decode all of the sounds they are hearing and then try to imitate or reproduce the sounds and movements.
And above all, enjoy and have fun! Whether you are singing to a young baby, making up songs with a toddler, or having a dance party with children of multiple ages, music is always a fun opportunity to play with your children.
Roman Music Therapy Services423 Main St.
Melrose, MA 02176