Just for a minute, imagine you are playing statue with your little one and are not even allowed to move a finger. But then suddenly someone puts on your favourite song – Moves like Jagger by Maroon 5 or I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas or Kaala Chashma from the movie Bar Bar Dekho or Aankh Maarey from Simba.
Try not dancing to it.
Impossible, isn’t it?
Music is a powerful thing. It’s power permeates time, place, race, language, culture and beliefs. “Music”, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “is the universal language of mankind”.
Why not introduce our children to this universal language from the very beginning? Here’s why children can benefit from listening to music or better still learning to create it:
Music = Brain Development
What if our kid could be the next child prodigy? Well, researchers from the Vanderbilt University (USA) establish that music is a powerful catalyst for brain development. Music training for as brief as two years can accelerate brain development, improve concentration and boost children’s IQ. This is possible because music activates both hemispheres of the brain, enabling kids to process information faster.
Music = Improved Fine Motor Skills
Just like little fingers make interesting shapes out of play doh, if given a chance they can make music. All they need are the right instruments. It could be anything, the keys of a piano or spoons and pots or their own bodies. Try clapping in a rhythm of 1,2,3…1,2,3… or clapping on 1, 2…and tapping on 3,4,5…alternately. It’s bound to be fun, improves their fine motor skills and sensitises them to the rhythm of different sounds.
Music = Language Learning
When learning a language, the meaning of the words comes later. Before the meaning comes the intonation. Try saying, “Look at that” first with surprise, now with scepticism and lastly, teeming with glee. Each time the intonation of the words change, the meaning changes with it. Kids too learn the sound of the words first, way before they understand the meaning.
Which of us has not taught our kid abc through the alphabet song. Thanks to nursery rhymes, our kids learn their first words of English language.
Music = Improved Math Skills
Music and Maths are inseparable. That’s because every song we hear, every note we swoon over is actually a sound wave that can be measured precisely. What’s more, each note has a unique sound wave. And when notes whose sound waves reverberate in similar patterns combine, it makes for a pleasing harmonious melody.
Rhythm, tone, pitch, the notations of composers and sounds made by musicians are all connected to mathematics. So the next time we hear or play music, let’s think of the deep connection mathematics and music have and how mathematics is used to create the music we enjoy.
There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” — Pythagoras
Music = Self-Discipline
Unlike dancing or painting, learning to create music does not come naturally to kids. It needs continuous practice. One or two lessons just won’t do it! But once if they commit themselves to learning through daily practice, bingo! they not only master the chords but also learn probably the most valuable lesson in life and that is – practice is the path to perfection.
So the next time your little one pretends that the dinner table are drums, bring your own set of sticks or spoons and join her in the fun. Sing a song, play it on your mobile or take her to a music class. Believe me, it’s never too early to introduce kids to music. Ask moms of preemie babies who have experienced the Mozart Effect.
“Music”, as the famous jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong said, “is life itself!” To be able to bathe in its rich texture, melody and rhythm is the closest we can come to feeling sublime. And what better time than now to introduce our kids to this profound world of magic!