Julie Andrews made it look so easy in the movies. Take almost a dozen Austrian kids, aged 5 to (going on) 17 who’ve not heard a note of music in recent memory, dress them in curtains, sing them a few do, rei, mis, and…TA DA!...win a prize at the Salzburg Music Festival. In reality, the time their dear, departed mother spent singing to the young Von Trapps, likely played a very big part in their ability to tune in to the future Fraülein’s lessons. What can music give your children? Read on.
Life Skills and Brain Food
Countless studies have shown that exposure to music helps babies develop spatial intelligence, language, and math abilities. Other skills like teamwork, practicing something until you get it right, and time management, are often discussed in the context of sports, but not all kids can have positive on-field or on-court experiences. Enter music. Music can also be a great entry point to discuss different cultures and countries. And for a lot of kids, music becomes an outlet for self-expression, and a huge source of self-esteem.
From birth to about six is thought to be a crucial time for developing aptitudes and affinities for music. As far as their aural contribution goes, just concentrate exploring how different sounds are made without any concern for melody or rhythm. Those will come soon enough.
Older kids will start to prefer one instrument to another. Hold off on shelling out the big bucks at a music store until, and unless, they seem to have found a true passion. Kids can start private or group lessons and work with simple sheet music that often comes with more “serious” instruments like kid and tween-sized guitars, or drum sets (be still your beating ear drums).
Though your brood probably won’t win any international music competitions, the more time they spend on music, the less often you’ll have to hear their noisy video games. And that’s a great benefit beyond all the brain and skills development!