Monday, January 6, 2014

Making Music Together: The Importance of Music

Making Music Together: The Importance of Music

We are musical beings. Our tendency to make music is universal and it transcends culture, language, religion, and every stage of our lives. As early as 5 months in utero, babies can hear their mother’s heartbeat and voice. From the time we are newborn and arguably before, playing and making music is not only all around us, it is an integral part of us.  Cooing infants, bouncing babies, singing lullabies, chanting songs in school, attending a celebration, driving to work, music is everywhere!

 Music utilizes and stimulates both sides of the brain. It is a full body experience. Outwardly it engages our voice and our bodies and inwardly it taps into our emotion and memories. We can all recall a song from our childhood. A song can make us feel happy, sad, excited or connect us to a specific moment in our lives.  Music is a way of being and a way of knowing.  Extensive research on the benefits of music has concluded that active music making supports emotional, physical, cognitive, language, and social development. Some studies have also connected music to higher academic achievement.

Culturally, music connects us to a community and allows people to interact and bond with one another. Imagine singing to your child. Think of how physically close you are when you sing. Think about how special that moment is that you are creating together.  Singing together is a beautiful way to bond with your little one.  Beyond that isolated moment, it creates harmony and possibly everlasting memories.  Singing with your child also fosters the love of making music. Only you can give your child the gift of loving music.  Singing and dancing with your child does not cost a penny but the benefits of those experiences are priceless.  Making music with your child does not require any kind of special skill or “talent”. Regardless of your musical ability, your voice is your child’s favorite voice.  Through music and musical play you encourage creativity, personal expression, and social interaction while bringing out the joy and the benefits of creating life-long music makers.

 What would an infant be able to do in a music class?  Music is a language. Although your infant does not talk back to you of course you continue to talk and read to them.  In music class we sing to our babies. They may not sing back for a while but before you know it they will coo and “ahh” to end of songs, hold onto egg shakers on their own and produce sounds, tap a drum with their curious hands and fingers, dance, and most importantly spend quality time with their favorite person – you! They will also have the opportunity to interact socially with other children (which means you get to make new friends too).  They have many opportunities to play, explore, and connect with you, other children, new spaces, instruments, and with a variety of rhythms and tonalities.  They experience and learn music through music.  Best of all, it is FUN! Now let’s make some beautiful music together.