‘Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the innermost soul and take strongest hold upon it,’ said the Greek philosopher Plato. Aren’t these words of wisdom reason enough to introduce our children to music early on? Well, here are seven ways to introduce your tiny tot to the world of music. Seven ways to match the seven notes of music - Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti… so, here we go!
1. Sing a song: This is the best way to do it. The more your child listens to songs and musical pieces, the more he will be drawn towards music. Begin with simple lullabies. They not only calm and hush-hush him to sleep but also initiate him into the world of melody and harmony. Then you can move on to good-old nursery rhymes. Whether it is, ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star…,’ or ‘Ding, dong bell,’ the musicality of rhymes will hold your child entranced. You can sing these rhymes any time – while engaged in play, walk or any other activity. You can even play good pieces of music to your little one.
2. Rock and sway: Music is all about movement. Encourage rocking, swaying and swinging movements during play and other occasions, while you sing or play a piece of music to your child. You can even encourage her to count out softly when she sways so that she becomes familiar with beat and rhythm. Even while she plays on the swing or see-saw you can sing to her so that she keeps time with your song.
3. Tap away: Music and dance are inseparable. So, what better way than tapping away to music with your pre-schooler? Play your favourite piece of music and do a jig or a waltz along with your child. You can even hold him in your arms as you dance and let him experience the movement, glide and beat of music.
4. Sing along: Sing or play your child’s favourite song and get him to sing along. Let him enjoy listening to his own ‘sing-song’ voice. Let him become aware of the high and low pitches as he hums or sings along. Singing can be a fun activity while playing, going on a ride, or travelling by train. It is an all-time activity. It can even bring life to mundane daily activities such as brushing the teeth or having a bath. So, encourage your child to sing along, anytime, anywhere…
5. Prick up the ears: There is music in everyday sounds around us. Let your child become alive to them. Make her listen to the gong of the church bells, the water trickling down the drain, the rain splashing on the window panes – there is beat and rhythm in every movement and sound. By becoming aware of this, she will have an early introduction to these concepts.
6. Make music: You can help your child create music from everyday objects. Empty cans, spoons, bowls, ladles, bottles filled with water – almost anything can be used to set up a mini orchestra at home! Not only would this be fun and exciting but also enable your child to identify differences in sounds (their tone, pitch, volume, etc.). You can even get him toy musical instruments to play with. And, what about practising high and low-pitched sounds while playing? Nothing like it!
7. Watch it live: If you have the time and opportunity, you can take your child to watch live musical performances and concerts. A peep into the professional world of music can be the best introduction and exposure your child can have.
Remember, you don’t have to be a Maria of ‘The Sound of Music’ to introduce your child to music. All you need is some musical sense, commitment and the will to enjoy and have fun with your little one.