Guest Post: Why We Teach Music For Babies
UniSound loves to feature talented writers from its member organizations! Want to learn how you can write a post for the UniSound blog? Contact us!
Music is learned as a language, which means music learning should be taking place from the start, just as the spoken language. Dr. Lorna Heyge understood this when she developed Musikgarten’s Family Music for Babies, which is offered at the Center for Young Musicians. Many music educators and parents, though, are still unaware of the benefits of such an early start in music classes. But with the current research, and the work of Dr. Edwin Gordon, as well as through experience, those of us who teach early childhood music know the value:
- All babies are born with music aptitude. (We can expand that aptitude in the early years until about age 9.
- Babies absorb the sounds of music in the same way they absorb the sounds of their spoken language.
- Recent studies have shown that music affects the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of babies and strengthens cognitive and sensory development.
- Patterns heard in class feed the ear-brain connection and start to form the language of music. Before long they will be imitating those patterns, developing for life their sense of pitch and rhythm.
These classes are developed specifically for babies and their caregivers and address the needs of the infant. Designed for babies up to about 18 months (when they start to really get mobile), babies can be a few weeks old when they begin. Some moms have signed up for the class before the baby is born, then come back later with baby in tow!
Even seasoned music instructors sometimes cannot imagine what happens in a babies class. It is a joyful 30 minutes of singing, dancing, rocking, steady beat, instruments, scarves, rhymes, finger plays, lullabies, and games. The beauty is watching parents interact naturally with their little one, bonding through the language of music. The babies are absorbing the sounds, the motions, and the intimate moments while parents are not only having fun, but also increasing their repertoire of songs and rhymes for every occasion!
So, start early with music. All children should have the opportunity to set the stage for a lifetime of music learning and enjoyment!
Amy Rucker is a National Teacher Trainer for Musikgarten and is the current president of ECMMA (Early Childhood Music and Movement Association). She teaches piano and Musikgarten at the Center for Young Musicians; her bio can be found here. Visit CYM to read more about the Center’s offerings for early childhood music and movement. CYM’s Fall Ensemble Recital is coming up on November 9 in Shadyside, and you can catch Amy at a fun, interactive booth at Holiday Dazzle at Pine Community Center on November 17!