---Confucious, Book of Rites
|A lovely duet!?|
"I always loved music; whoso has skill in this art is of a good temperament, fitted for all things."---Martin Luther, 1566.
I don't know why the tradition of making music evolved but I do know that it's totally universal and communicates with the soul in a way nothing else does. I also know that kids generally love it- both listening to it, moving to it, and making it themselves. Even tiny babies in their bouncy chairs will jiggle along to music, and give the little critters something to hit or rattle or blow or twang and they will make their own "music" with great enthusiasm.
|Zac singing the "Excavator Song."|
---Henry David Thoreau
Singing nursery rhymes and songs is a great place to start. Just the sound of the simple melodies and the pattern of the rhymes seems appealing and soothing to children, and it's thought to be very important for their language development (See this article for more info: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/08/singing-children-development-language-skills) When I was teaching, I met a lot of teachers who dreaded the thought of having to sing to their class. Usually this was because they'd been told, at some point during their childhood, that they "couldn't sing." It made me mad and sad. Everyone can sing. Admittedly, some are better than others at it, and many of the people who turn up on X-factor type audition programs genuinely believing they have a voice that will impress the nation have been equally misguided in the opposite direction, but singing should be all about enjoyment, and everyone- especially kids, should be allowed to enjoy it without feeling self-conscious. Babies and small children will love the sound of your voice whatever you might think of it, so sing out whenever you fancy!They'll soon join in.
"Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education."
|It's not exactly Glastonbury!|
Plus, a family sing-song in the car can lessen the pain of a long journey, or playing the humming game while you're on a long walk can distract from the distance still to go.
|"The pied piper" fuffing it gently!|
|Jamming with my big sister.|
and the better I played, the more I enjoyed it.
-Adolf "Bud" Herseth, Principal Trumpet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
It is nice to have some proper, tuned instruments. Even if the little folk haven't mastered playing them properly yet, they can be a bit easier on the ear. My favourite is a harmonica that Danny often plays. It's difficult to blow it too hard, unlike a recorder, and it sounds as though you're playing real tunes even when you're just mucking about:
|Lovely "plinky-plonky" music|
And if you're not actually making music yourself putting the radio on and bopping about is a great way to have fun and be active. By listening to different styles of music you not only let them begin to differentiate, for example between classical and pop, and talk about preferences, but they also interpret it through different kinds of movement, improving their balance, co-ordination, body awareness and rhythm . Tho I confess that I clearly remember Zac, aged just 2, saying in very disapproving tones, "DON'T do dancing mummy, it's HORRIBLE!"
A little clip of Zac at 3 months showing you can't be too young to dance:
Here's a link to a great post explaining much better than I have why music can help stick things in the memory for little kids: