June 21 is Music Day, an annual music event is a great way to get your little one involved in music - read our advice on how important music is for children and how it can help their development.
Music Day (musicday.org.uk) is a connected set of free public events, which take place each year on the 21st June.
Last year there were events in 108 countries and across 726 cities around the world. Designed to bring music out onto the streets, the idea has spread across the globe with each event holding a simple set of principles, that all concerts and events are free and accessible to the general public.
Encouraging your little one to enjoy music is a great way of strengthening the bond between parent and child, but it also provides some very real benefits to their ongoing physical and mental ability which will aid them in their early development prior to going to school and also beyond. Indulging in more regular song-time at home will also provide your child with clear learning progression as they grow.
Your once ‘babbling’ toddler has grown into a little person, with their own opinions, ideas and conversations
The transition from pre-school to infant school is an important time in the early years’ development process. Your once ‘babbling’ toddler has grown into a little person, with their own opinions, ideas and conversations – not to mention a relentless thirst for learning. Increased exposure to music and singing in advance of full-time education can really make a difference to your child’s development, helping them to hit the ground ‘sprinting’ when they start school.
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Music is universal, it appeals to all cultures, all ages and all abilities. It’s also an important part of the school curriculum. Listening to music and actively taking part in singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument are all important in stimulating a child’s learning curve and developing a range of physical and emotional skills which will benefit them now and later in life.
You can help to boost your child’s language skills by focusing on nursery rhymes
You can help to boost your child’s language skills by focusing on nursery rhymes. It’s no great coincidence that popular nursery rhymes are quite repetitive – think about ‘Row, row, row your boat’ or ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little, star’ – the repetition is key to this process of creating linguistic building blocks upon which little brains can start to make meaningful associations and melodic experimentations via simple rhythmic patterns. The use of repetition along with actions will help to inspire coordination, balance and speech development.
Even simple songs like ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ help children to learn about the world around them – vital in the transition to a new school environment. Singing songs with numbers in them can also help young children to learn to count; some traditional songs even contain elements of subtraction (such as Five Little Ducks) so you might not realise that your child is being exposed to some of the simplest forms of mathematics through music and song! Exploring concepts such as colours, animals, transport and even telling the time through song, will all help with your child’s motor skills and general coordination as they prepare for school.
Children can express themselves through movement long before they can verbalise
Try to ensure that any exposure to music is also accompanied with movement where possible. Many nursery rhymes come complete with a set of ‘actions’ - ‘I’m a little teapot’ or ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. Children can express themselves through movement long before they can verbalise. They also need to learn to hone their sense of balance and to control their limbs. Movement to music has also been shown to help a child express feelings and moods as they learn to interpret the music that they hear.
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And finally, don’t forget about all of the social and emotional benefits associated with music; encouraging this kind of musical activity in advance of starting school can really help with self-expression and confidence in later life.
So, if you would like to support World Music Day in your own way this year, here are a few simple tips to get you started:
•Sing with your child regularly, it doesn’t matter where or when you do it, just do it as often as you can (and make an occasion of it on 21 June!)
•Don’t worry if you fluff the words or think your sing out of tune – the reality is, be enthusiastic about it and your child will be too.
•Make music actively – it’s not enough to just put on a CD, if you don’t interact with them, it will wash over their head.
•Don’t over complicate things young children respond best to easy uncomplicated songs and nursery rhymes rather than those more suited to a nightclub.
•Use simple actions – it is great fun and will help your child’s coordination no end.
•Make some home-made instruments to get truly musical – banging yoghurt pots together, or using a cardboard crisp tube with a handful or dried pasta – makes a great shaker. Equally saucepan lids are great self-made cymbals!
Courtesy of Caroline Crabbe, General Manager at Jo Jingles (jojingles.com)