Introducing Your Child to the Arts: Making Music Together
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should
be taught to love it instead."
- Igor Stravinsky, composer
Musical sounds permeate our environment, shaping the way we experience different aspects of life. We wake up to music on the radio, identify our cell phones by personalized musical tones, wait patiently in offices surrounded by soothing melodies, and select favorite CDs for pleasure and inspiration. A child’s world is equally inundated with musical moments. From the sounds of a parent’s lullaby before bedtime to the colorful tunes accompanying favorite television shows such as Sesame Street, children experience and respond to music with joy.
Beyond the simple pleasures associated with music, it is important to think about the other benefits music provides. Research tells us that music plays a vital role in the learning process and strengthens skills in other areas. Educators believe that engagement in music supports academic achievement. As early as preschool, playing music helps children acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that influence them throughout their lives. All those involved in watching a child develop
musical skills and knowledge have long known that, in the midst of learning music for its own sake, children also learn coordination, goalsetting, concentration, and cooperation. In addition, a growing body of research shows that music study can lead to real and measurable benefits in mathematics and reading. Most of all, children who make music gain the self-esteem that comes with personal achievement.
Outside of the academic reasons, however, there is the simple fact that making music is fun. Children intuitively start making musical sounds from an early age, banging on the table rhythmically or attempting to coo or call out in a sustained musical way. They listen to favorite songs on CDs and tapes and begin to sing independently as they mimic familiar tunes. As they grow older, children enjoy the act of sharing and playing music with others.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Endowment for the Arts.
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