Music Matters: Introducing Classical Music to Kids
Maybe you're a fan of classical music, maybe not. Whatever the case, there is good reason to expose your child to classical music.
Will exposing your child to music cause them to become a professional musician? Maybe, maybe not. More important is the new information about how music can support your child’s early development and learning.
For instance, recent research indicates that infants latch on to unfamiliar musical rhythms better than their parents do. Think about that…a baby can capture rhythm better than us!
During the early years, learning musical rhythm is similar to learning language and speech. Language rapidly develops in late infancy and throughout toddlerhood. Music may promote this rapidly developing skill. Rhythm and beat also provide opportunities for movement (how fun to watch an infant or young child dance to the music), which supports children’s acquisition of gross (large) motor skills.
Many of us think that classical music equals Mozart, but the truth is classical music encompasses many styles of music spanning over 700 years! How do you introduce children to the world of classical music in a way that is going to be fun for both them and you?
First of all, here's what not to do. Don’t start with a 2-hour, “adult” concert. Those concerts are designed for quiet listening and little wiggling, which would not appeal to a young child. During late toddlerhood or the preschool years, consider attending a concert especially designed for children and families.
Even before attending a concert, there are plenty of ways to expose your child to music:
- Movement to music: Music doesn’t just have to be for sitting and listening. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for expression! Try out different pieces (a couple of examples might be: Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers, and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody) and get up and move. Explore tempo (the rate or speed of a musical piece) by moving fast or slow with your child as you respond to the music. Explore pitch (highness or lowness of sound) by having children move low (crawl) or high (jump, on tip-toes, walk upright) according to the sounds they hear in the music.
- Playtime is also a great time to introduce music by simply providing it in the background as children play. Whether involved in playing house, building with Legos, or just exploring, try a little music.
- Integrate music into arts experiences: From drawing, to painting, to collage, music provides an extension of other arts activities.