Music is very powerful for your baby as it opens doors for her to become more balanced and healthy, both physically and emotionally.
Once a week Nina and her mom at tend a baby music class in the area. “Hello, everyone. We are going to play with drums today. Parents, place your baby in between your legs and the drum should go in front of your baby,” says the teacher. She begins to hand a drum to Mom. Mom sets the drum in between Nina’s legs and lets her bang on the drum any way she likes. She then gives it a try herself by tapping with a rhythm. Mom gives Nina praise and encouragement by saying, “You just made music, Nina! Hurray for Nina!”
In this scenario, Mom is teaching rhythm to Nina. The wonderful thing is it does not look like Mom is teaching at all. As Mom is sit ting on the floor with Nina tapping on the drum, she emphasizes the rhythms that a drum can make. Mom is amazed at the elation and joy that music brings to Nina. By bringing her baby to a group music class she is introducing the beginnings of music education.
Engaging in music play with your baby will help build the bond between you and she. Think about a time when you sang a soft lullaby to your baby, and she locked eyes with you, listening to your voice and watching your facial expressions. It almost seemed as if she was instantly mesmerized and soothed.
Musical experiences for your baby will promote learning in other areas of development. Think about where your baby is developmentally. Is she grasping objects such as rattles and small toys? When you give your baby a rattle to grasp with her hand, you are helping your baby develop her physical abilities (fine motor skills) and encouraging her to shake and make music with the rattle.
By taking the time to talk to her during the experience of holding the rattle (“I see you are holding the rattle with a firm grasp. That is a good shake you did!”), you then promote physical development with praise in her burgeoning musical abilities (making noise by shaking).
Next, support her musical creativity by grabbing another rattle or maraca for yourself and shaking it to a beat. Your baby will attempt to imitate you, thereby further developing her musical creativity.
Other activities you can do to develop your baby’s musical skills include making it part of her bedtime routine. Play music while you give your baby a bath, or play a CD to help her relax and fall asleep independently. It does not always have to be classical music that you play; try some jazz or country. Sing to your baby, even if you think you can’t do it so well!
Singing to your infant is the best way to expose her to music because she can watch your mouth movements and model your movements and facial expressions. You will see and hear your baby cooing and mimicking sounds heard in the song.
Avoid having your baby in the bouncy seat placed in front of the TV; instead, turn on your music player. Stereos are the next best thing to you singing and are much more benef icial for your baby’s imagination and creativity than TV. Instead of watching characters dance or sing on the TV, your baby will use her imagination to begin to see how to move her body to music.
Take your baby to music in the park experiences in your neighborhood so she can see a live performance and hear how music is created. Also, invest in simple musical instruments such as rhythm sticks, shakers, jingle bells, a drum, and a xylophone. Let your baby explore the different sounds that each instrument makes. Have a concert with the two of you playing all the instruments you have. What fun!
Make sure to introduce songs and rhythmic chants that have actions your baby can watch or do with you, such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Pat-a- Cake.” When parents expose their babies to music, they also support the development of good listening skills from an early age.