For all of human history, music has been an integral part. And scholars have found that music is not just an important part of culture, but also has positive impacts on cognitive development!
Engaging with music through singing or learning an instrument has been found to confer multiple benefits on children and adults alike, from boosting physical coordination, language abilities, to numerical reasoning. On top of that, the enjoyable nature of music means it can raise mood, motivation, and attention levels. As a result, many studies have revealed that children who have musical training do better in school than children who did not.
With its immense benefits, music is a worthwhile hobby to let your young child pick up. Additionally, it is also easy to incorporate into daily learning, without any expert knowledge needed! Here are some tips and ideas you can implement right at home:
Singing children’s songs is the easiest way to get your child involved with music in learning! Most of these songs are tailored to children, with simple melodies, sequences and patterns, and lots of repetition. It might sound super simple and mundane to you, but this is what helps kids learn.
When a child likes something, they are also notorious for requesting it again and again. Don’t be shy to put their favourite songs on loop! You can suggest a new theme each week, such as animals, planets, or occupations, and compile relevant songs into a playlist. With repeated exposure, these songs can be an effective way to expose your child to new words and phrases.
It’s okay to be silly!
Music is meant to be enjoyed! Don’t be afraid to get creative and silly with songs, like changing up the lyrics and making up new rhymes. When children have fun manipulating elements of a song, they are also showing awareness of rhythm, rhyme, and language.
For example, you could turn ‘Mary had a little lamb’ into something quirky like ‘Mary had a dinosaur’. Implicitly, your child is putting linguistic reasoning into play, as they realise that only nouns can replace the word ‘lamb’. ‘Dinosaur’ is also 3 syllables, which perfectly matches the rhythm of ‘little lamb’.
When you turn on some music, what does your child do? For most children, it is quite natural to groove to music when they hear it. Some may even start to dance spontaneously! Tapping, dancing, or swaying is a way of physically engaging with music, and a way to express oneself.
Encourage your child to explore different motions in response to the mood, rhythm, and dynamics of the music. This not only improves their sensitivity to music, but also their physical coordination. For educational songs, actions add another layer of memorability that help kids learn. Of course, it is also a fun way to get some exercise in your little one’s day!
Inject some STEAM learning
Music isn’t just about learning music – you can learn other things like STEAM through music too! Think about it: music is made of vibrations and soundwaves, and it can vary in duration, pitch, and timbre. You can turn a music session into an exploration of sounds with some simple activities.
One classic activity is to fill a few glasses with different levels of water, and clinking them with a spoon. How does the water level affect the sound produced? Alternatively, you can let your child be resourceful and create their own ‘drumset’ out of pots, pails, and boxes to see how different materials and sizes affect the sound produced.
Musical activities don’t need to be very complicated or sophisticated, as can be seen from the suggestions above! Even parents with no musical education can also engage their children in exciting and educational musical activities.
These days, many schools, including international schools in Singapore, also use music prominently in classes to engage young children. In your search for the best kindergarten school for your child, don’t overlook the importance of music and arts in the syllabus. Look out for schools that commit to a holistic education, with vast offerings of music and other after-school activities that your child can explore.