Recently, I’ve had a few requests to write about babies and music. Parents are asking me what they can do at home to promote a good musical upbringing for their children, and they want to start young. My answer to that is, “More power to them!” Yes, there is plenty you can do to bring music into your babies’ lives, and in my experience starting with beats and rhythms is the way to go. First, I want to share a link with all of you this week to an article posted on the website for The National Association For the Education of Young Children. (NAEYC) The article is called “The Patterns of Music: Young Children Learning Mathematics through Beat, Rhythm, and Melody” by Kamile Geist, Eugene A. Geist, and Kathleen Kuznik, and I highly recommend it. It is a great explanation as to why it is so important to instill the concepts of beats and rhythms at a young age. Click HERE to go to NAEYC’s website.
A Couple of Activities…All for infants
(1) You may not realize it, but Mommies naturally start teaching beats and rhythms to their babies from the get go. Remember the Mommy bounce? It’s that instinctual bounce that Mommies do to calm their baby. We put them to sleep with it and calm their crying with it. Still to this day, I personally naturally revert to the bounce the moment a baby gets placed in my arms.
To continue the bounce a step further, turn on some music while you do this. Whether the tempo of the music is fast or slow, not only will your baby feel the rhythm you have created with your bounce, but they will hear it in time with the music, as well.
(2) Anytime you are out and about and there is music playing in the background, tap out the beat of the music by gently patting your baby’s back, arm, head, etc. Again, your baby will begin to associate music and beats as being one in the same.
(3) In my list of Top 10 Instruments under $40 that will help to promote music education in the home (Click HERE to see the list), I want to revise my suggestion for shaker eggs just a bit when it is in regards to infants. Instead of a traditional shaker egg, I prefer a shaker egg with a handle so those little hands will more easily be able to hold onto it. Here is a picture of a shaker egg with a handle.
And HERE is the link that will bring you to the Amazon.com page to see shaker eggs with handles for purchase.
To illustrate beats and rhythms to your baby, play songs of various tempos. Put the shaker in their hand, and with their shaker-filled hand in yours, help them shake the beat to the music. They will like doing this and will love that they are making such a funny sound! Now, once they’ve got it down, switch the shaker to their other hand and repeat the same activity. Keep the music going, but let go of their hand. Perhaps they will continue to shake the shaker, and perhaps they won’t. When they do shake on their own, I guarantee there will be smiles all around for both Mommies and babies!
(4) If you are working with an older baby (6ish months-1 year-olds), try this same activity with a hand drum. Here is a picture of a hand drum.
And HERE is the link that will bring you to the Amazon.com page to see a hand drum for purchase.
Put the mallet away. The first thing a baby will do with that mallet is to try to eat it. That could lead to a disaster, so please just let them beat the drum with their hand on the floor in front of them.
Turn on music of various tempos, and take their hand in yours. Help them beat the drum in time to the music, and give them the opportunity to try it with both hands and using each hand one at a time. Let go of their hands and see if they’ll play the drum without you. It may take some time for them to try it on their own, but they will get it and love playing the drum to music eventually!
I hope you all have enjoyed this week’s Top 10 Tuesday activity. Please don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for musical fun with your kids. If you wouldn’t mind spreading the word and to help me promote music education for all children, I would be very grateful. Until next week, happy singing!