Have you ever done an activity with your child that was both fun and helped her build a couple skills? Playdough, for example, is so much fun–and it is a great activity to develop senses and creativity. Puzzles are a fun way to develop spatial awareness and problem solving. Many of the things that help our children develop the most are things that, on the surface, appear to be simple and fun. Music is no different.
Music classes are fun and engaging while providing experiences that help nurture the emotional, physical, and intellectual resources children need to deal with life’s challenges while they are young. They help children develop as a whole person and improve specific characteristics including attention span, language or verbal development, creativity, motor skills, and self control.
What better way to learn about music than through natural means and experiences? Consider this for a moment: We learn language by being immersed in it. From infancy to childhood to adulthood, we learn to speak as a natural result of the communication taking place with and around us. Despite our innate capacity to develop lingually, we still teach English in school so we can learn to read, spell, write, create, and communicate in more ways than just vocally. The same is true with music. Our informal experiences with music are the building blocks of more structured learning opportunities. In other words, they are paramount for success in structured learning environments.
Children benefit more from music classes when such experiences are in conjunction with spontaneously occurring opportunities to interact with music without coercion or expectation. This is why we include nature sounds in our foundational classes: to assist children in hearing the music around them so informal experiences can occur naturally. We want to help them learn to recognize the language of music.
We know how informal experience lays the foundation for formal study, so at Harmony Arts we incorporate these naturally occurring interactions into our lessons. We also seek to help our families participate musically together in simple ways so small informal experiences can take place stress-free in the home. Some easy ways to incorporate informal music experiences include humming while washing the dishes, whistling while taking out the trash, clapping and tapping on your laps in the car, and naming different nature sounds you hear while out on a walk.
Tell us about one of your informal music moments in the comments below!
— written by Maree Zollinger