Before I tell you about singing, let me establish something I have in common with you: I nursed my little one!
I also sang to him non-stop, even before he was born. The singing hasn’t stopped. Do you know that singing lowers your cortisol level, 25 minutes after you sing? Do you know that singing to your child strengthens your bond, and builds your child’s self confidence? It doesn’t matter whether you are musical or not, on key or off – making music with your little one stimulates every nerve of his or her body and aids development. Music from your iPod or CD player cannot compare to Mama’s voice – It is your voice that your child wants to hear the most.
You can start with a lullaby. This ritual will comfort your infant and help your child towards a good night’s sleep. You can sing as you do diaper changes, bathe him or her, look out the window, drive in the car, or, as you nurse. Why sing, Mama? Aside from the emotional benefits of singing, making music with your child nurtures musical growth. Singing in tune and with accurate rhythm is a birthright, just like walking and talking. With a vocabulary-rich environment, a child learns to speak. It is the same with music. With a musical environment, a child develops rhythm and tonality. As a child is born with the ability to speak a language, so is he or she born with the ability to make music. All that is needed is a musical environment.
The environment I speak of is not the passive kind – that of a CD playing in the background. Think active, or live music-making. The child learns through play, and who else is it best to play and learn with, than you, the primary caregiver and role model? You need not be musically talented to do this. Through my center, I teach a curriculum for babies through kindergarten age, along with their primary caregivers, called Music Together®. In class, I facilitate the musical relationship between parent and child so that you can bring the ‘live music’ home. Here’s a video of a family class. Kenneth K. Guilmartin, co-author and founder of Music Together LLC, explains more about the importance of music for children here.
“Music provides unique and invaluable insights into the human condition. Music allows us to know, discover, understand, experience, share, or express such aspects of the human condition as feelings, aesthetic experiences, the ineffable, thoughts, structure, time and space, self-knowledge, self-identity, group identity, and healing and wholeness. If the purpose of an education is to systematically develop the mind and capabilities of every child, it is clear that music has a unique and necessary role to play.”
In my blog I also wrote about ways your child can learn, as supported by research.
I need not explain more. You have to experience it yourself. I cannot fully describe how beautiful it is to make live music with your children – while sitting on the kitchen floor or driving to the beach.
Jeannie Myron is a licensed Music Together® Center Director and Registered Teacher. She teaches all the Music Together classes of Music and Bounce, LLC in North Fayette, PA. She has a great love for children and has always been passionate about music. In her growing up years she mostly played teacher and singer, watched musicals, sang to her sister and little cousins, and belonged to the church choir next door. Her love for music is influenced by her family and piano teacher.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Jeannie explored the different functions of business in several industries for 16 years. It was during her pregnancy that she found her singing voice once again and has not stopped singing since. She discovered Music Together while being a stay-at-home mom to a six month old. As a Music Together parent, she together with her husband, recognize how the classes helped develop their son’s musical ability. Music has become so much a part of their everyday life.
Jeannie is now both singing and teaching music classes for kids in Pittsburgh after successfully completing the Music Together Teaching Workshop developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey. She creates a fun, informal, social setting that spurs engagement and supports each child’s musical development. Her aim is to share the joy of music, and while doing so, strengthen and build families and the community.
Jeannie and all Music Together teachers believe that the most effective teacher of a child is you, his or her role model. To sample a Music Together class, in the greater Pittsburgh area, contact Jeannie and mention this blog post. Do this soon, space is limited.
Did you take music classes with your child? What did you like best? Do you still use music with your child? Please leave a comment and share your story!