As a music educator, I meet many parents who share stories about how the music teacher at their child’s preschool is providing an excellent music education. My standard reply is, “That’s great! Does your teacher also give you music to listen to at home?”
The reality is, no matter how talented the music teacher is, he or she can’t do the entire job without your help! Music development, like language development, requires immersion in musical sounds both at school and at home. Imagine the language delays a child would experience if his only exposure to English (or whatever his native language is) happened at school. The same is true for music.
Singing, dancing, and listening to music throughout the day is the optimal way to promote music development during the first few years of life.
Here are a few simple ways you can enjoy music with your child every day to help nurture her music development – and have fun doing it!
- Listen and sing along in the car. When possible, listen to the same songs used in your child’s school as a way to connect with and reinforce the school’s music program.
- Pull out some old pots and pans for your child to play along with while you’re cooking in the kitchen. Sing a song and encourage them to keep the beat.
- Dance together! (If you’re uncomfortable dancing in public, dance at home.)
- Sing a lullaby when it’s time to go to bed.
Songs, dances and musical games played at school not only enhance music development, but also foster children’s independence, social and emotional skills, language growth and self-control. Immersion in music at home and at school is the best technique for developing your child’s music skills.