Guest contributor - Brenda Shaylor
Never before in man’s history has there been such a large range of products and activities available for educating and/or entertaining children, from babyhood through to adulthood……hmmm,…some of us adults are still children at heart. Nevertheless, we really do have a wide range of activities to educate and amuse us. So we ask the question, "Why music?"
It can be said that music is made up of sounds and silence. From the time a baby in the womb begins to hear sounds it experiences music in some form. After a baby is born it will respond when music is played. Bear in mind the quality of music is important. For example, gentle quiet music to be rocked to sleep with, happy songs and rhymes for play time, light instrumental music playing in the background, and times of silence. All of these aspects of music contribute to the early learning environment of a baby.
Why music? Simply put, we all have an inner sense of rhythm and a voice. As time goes on a baby and young child will often be heard 'singing' and beating or rocking to the beat and rhythm of a piece of music. Inevitably there are smiles and giggles of happiness at the same time.
If a baby and small child are provided an environment in which there is much music available, both for listening and play, then a solid foundation is laid for all future learning.
In many cultures there is constant exposure to beautiful harmonious singing and instrument playing on a daily basis, and it is very natural for children to join in these activities. For others though, parents search for suitable early music programs for their young children because they know that music is a wonderful activity for children to be involved in.
Here are a few of the key things to consider when contemplating the question, “Why music?”
1. Music is fun
Yes, music is fun and in so many ways. Babies love to be bounced to a happy lively song, a small child will often sing happily to themselves while playing, an older child enjoys playing a new piece for their grandparents, and teenagers enjoy playing in bands and small groups.
2. Music enhances creativity
There are so many opportunities for creativity when a child learns music. Some will compose or improvise their own pieces while others will draw amazing pictures as they listen to music in the background.
3. Music builds self-esteem
Children who are given the opportunity to sing or play a musical instrument from an early age generally develop healthy self-esteem. Participating in musical activities gives children the opportunity for acquiring skills that give them a strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with their own abilities.
4. Music is relaxing
In all its various facets music has the ability to relax and soothe. Many adults who take music lessons often express the thought that they have done so as a means of de-stressing.