The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 4
Mr. A is on fire. 😉 Here’s the 4th part of his series about the effects of music on cognitive development in toddlers and children. This one begins to address what parents and caregivers can do to encourage this development, primarily through use of their voices – like singing or humming. The focus is on rhythmic patterns, not necessarily on words, such as songs or poetry. The goal is to expose the child to sounds and patterns, which of course, will spur on neural development.
He also discusses different age ranges with regard to how a child’s mind engages with music, its analogue as a language and cues as to when a child is ready to move from unstructured guidance to structured guidance, including indicators that signal that the child is ready to begin learning with an instrument.
Live music is suggested, instead of lessons, for children under 3 (based on certain behavioral indicators) and a link is provided to information from Susan Pascale which delves into this same topic in more detail.
Its really fascinating for me to read these with our daughter in the age group that Mr. A addresses. She’s now singing regularly, and even humming tunes in key and completing songs when we start them – both via sung tones and using words, in the case of nursery rhymes that she’s heard from us or from media (I know, its suggested that we don’t expose her to too much tv or internet, so we do limit it and make it interactive as well).
[edit 03.27.2015] Here are links to the other parts:
Just as a child starts to speak after listening to others speak, so too a child starts to sing, chant, and move after listening to others sing music. Through the voice, children develop the ability to sing and chant, which is the equivalent to speaking in a language. Because we are interested here in music, and not language, adults should sing short tonal patterns and chant short rhythmic patterns without any words, lyrics, or poetry. Even nursery rhythms and poems should not be used at this stage. Just singing on a neutral syllable, such as “bah” or “bum” is fine.
When my daughter was less than a year old, and before I knew all of this about early childhood music, I used to stand at the foot of her changing table as she lay there, and sing quick series of pitches on a neutral syllable; It never failed to bring a…
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