Throughout my life, I have always been aware of the main ways in which music affects me. Listening to music has served me well by helping to release stress, boost concentration, and simply elevate my mood. But now as a parent, while experiencing music with my kids, I have noticed other aspects through them that are beneficial as well.
After searching online, I found a great article which highlights some of these qualities that music can instil in our little ones. Janelle Durham is an educator, social worker, and parent who uses research-based content on her blog (Good Days with Kids). There is a lot of excellent material there and you can view the original article here. She also has made a teachable PDF version of this, which I will include at the bottom.
Benefits of Singing with Your Child
- Musical skills: Singing builds skills in matching tone, keeping a steady rhythm, varying speed and volume, expressing emotion through the voice, etc.
- Mathematical and spatial skills: Children who have taken music classes score higher on math tests. Music enhances brain development in areas tied to pattern recognition, counting, organization, time, and division of larger notes into smaller notes (ie: fractions).
- Vocabulary: Music introduces children to the sounds and meanings of a wide range of words and helps strengthen memory skills.
- Literacy: Alphabet and number songs help children remember letter and number sequences.
- Rhymes and Prediction: As children sing, they learn about rhymes. Rhymes can help them learn to predict things… “if this line ends with star, the next line must be the one that ends with are.”
- Predictability and Cause & Effect: When you sing the same song to your baby or child over and over, they learn to expect what is coming next… “After mom says, ‘with a one step, and a two step’ she’s going to tickle me!”
- Tradition: Music is a unique and powerful way for children to connect to their roots. An African-American spiritual, a Yiddish or Irish lullaby, a Mexican folk song… all introduce a child to the family’s heritage in a way that goes beyond words or pictures.
- Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills: In the book Brain Rules for Babies, John Medina says that one of the most powerful things about music is that when a child learns to recognize different musical tones, they also learn to recognize different emotional tones, and can tell more about how the people around them are feeling. Even young babies who were exposed to music classes had improved communication; they were more likely to point to objects, wave goodbye, smile, and show less distress.
- Attachment: Music can foster emotional attachment. From the first day of our babies’ lives, music can be a way to make a connection – they love to hear the sound of your voice (and recognize both parent’s voices from hearing them in the womb). And pretty soon, the songs start becoming familiar and recognizable, and a part of their safe and secure environment.
- Routines and Transitions: Familiar songs create a sense of comfort for a child. No matter where you are, you always have access to this same familiar tune. Many parents and teachers learn the value of songs for reinforcing routines (“this is the song we always sing at bedtime”) and signalling that its time to transition from one activity to the next (the cleanup song)!
I hope that you are able to try some of this out! Whether through singing, playing an instrument, or simply listening to music, there are so many positive effects at work. And if you are looking for some great music that's suitable for both children and parents, please check out my playlist on Spotify. It's free!
Here is the PDF version of this article which you can download here.
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The music is getting louder! My book is in production and will be ready to launch on Saturday, Nov. 18th here in Kelowna! Traditionally, it makes sense for a new book to get released in a book store. But, since singing is one of the main themes in my story, it seemed like a natural fit to host this big event at a music store!
I will start by reading the book to the kids inside Wentworth Music at 10:30am. I will then talk a bit about gibbons and the background behind the story. Following this, my own kids will play the piano and help everyone sing the new song that is featured in the book!
Books will be available to purchase and can be signed afterwards. Cash is preferred, although credit and debit will be available as well (5% GST added to prices below):
Tap/Click below to stay in tune with this event and get more good news from Good Natured Books!
Music has always been very important to me...and now to my kids, which is really awesome to see! And when we discovered that gibbons actually sing intricate songs in the wild, it made sense to have music as one of the main themes in my first book.
I have always been on the lookout for tunes that are appropriate for toddlers, while at the same time being enjoyable for parents too. So I've started a playlist on Spotify with some of our favourite songs and plan to update it regularly with similar styles/sounds.
I call it "Rainbows & Gold," which includes contemporary artists as well as artists geared specifically for children. I enjoy playing it from the start and then letting it run throughout our day - it is over 4 hours long and will continue to grow! But if you would rather drag specific songs into your own playlists and control things yourself, please do! ☺︎
If you already use Spotify, I'm sure you know how to do this. But if you haven't tried this service yet, I would highly recommend doing so - it's free, easy to use, and gives access to so much amazing music.
Directions1. Download the Spotify player to your computer or download the app on your phone/tablet. Tap/Click Here
2. Open Spotify, create an account, then come back to this page. Then tap/click on this link and it should take you to the playlist on the web. Tap/Click on the big green button that says "Play on Spotify". Follow the steps so that you will be taken to the Spotify player you just downloaded. This sounds more confusing than it really is!
3. Once you are at the playlist in Spotify, tap/click where it says "Follow".
4. That's it - you can start playing music! The playlist will be saved to your library and will automatically update over time.
With the free service, I would suggest listening only when you are on a Wi-Fi connection (otherwise you might exceed your data limits)! There will also be short ads intermittently.
If you want the full experience with no ads, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription. Then you can make this playlist available offline and take it on the road with you (as well as all your other playlists, of course!) For more information or troubleshooting, please visit Spotify here.
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