5 ways to introduce music to your children
My parents tell me that I started to sing at the age of 5.
They tell me, I used to rewind & play cassettes in the tape recorder again all by myself till I learnt a particular song. And that is how my journey as a singer started. My father is a good singer, though he calls himself a bathroom singer, but I think I got those musical genes from him because my mother is still as lost when it comes to music as she was years back when my younger brother tried to teach her simple tunes & she would mess them up gloriously :) I do not know if she used to just make it up for us to have some fun or otherwise!
Nevertheless, I got my dose of music in some or the other way right from the childhood. I am sure my father had sung to me and also played music on a tape recorder or a radio when I was in the womb. You know, the film music back then in 1980s was much more melodious & meaningful. So, even if an individual who had no sense of music, played anything to a child, there would be very less noisy music going into the ears. These days, film music ranges from absolute disasters to decent tracks to some awesome tunes to some glorious evergreens. So, it is for us, the parents, to filter out such stuff & let good music reach to our kids' ears, well, as much as possible.
Being a singer, a mother and now an early childhood education enthusiast, I have got this question umpteen number of times from fellow moms, that how to introduce music to their kids. And these kids are infants, toddlers, preschoolers & older kids too. The answer is not too short.
Now coming to how you can introduce music to your child -
Listen To Music During Pregnancy- Read my article here about my experience & effects on my son, of listening to music when I was pregnant.
Singing To Your Child & Dance Your Heart Out- Do not hesitate even you are one of the most besura persons in the world. Your child loves your voice the most! And dancing funnily & merrily is a great bonding exercise plus it teaches a sense of beat to your child. For me, I sing to him sa re ga ma alankars randomly when I feel like, be it while getting him ready or while feeding him or any time. I also sing to him songs, mantras, bhajans, rhymes when I feel like. Basically, I try to make it a fun, non-routine, open-ended practice.
Playing Music In Your House At Waking & Sleeping Hours- . Yes, I play music for some time, even when my child is sleeping. Children spend most of their time in Alpha and Theta brainwave cycles, which corresponds to a meditative or hypnotic state. That is the time, that little brain is in the most receptive state! So, it makes all the more sense to play good music while they are asleep.
Exposing Kids To Different Music Instruments - Music is best learnt by kids when it is fun, engaging & a non-routine thing. Kids are curious by nature, so let them explore music instruments & understand how sounds are made. There are so many musical toys available in the market today but most of them are fancy & super expensive because of the baby tag. You can hunt temple shops or actual music instrument shops or local haats or streetside vendors for some good music instruments. Many facebook groups these days also stock wooden child-size music instruments. This is what we have & use : keyboard, maracas, ghungru rattles, drums, xylophone, flute, trumpet, mouth organ, manjeera, dumru, mini dholak, chimes, ektara and my real music instruments - tabla & harmonium. I have not had the courage to give him my real string instruments yet : tanpura & guitar.
My Son At 6 Months Playing A Keyboard Using His Head.
Attend Parent Toddler Classes That Are Focussed On Music - There are many such classes running in various cities under the names like Musical Bonding, Music Together etc [I am in no way endorsing them]. You can search any in your location & attend a trial class to see if it works for you & your child.
You can watch my almost 2 year old son reciting Indian classical beats in this video below
And now, if you are stuck over baby rhymes or Bollywood & wondering what music to listen or play to your child, here are some pointers you can build upon -
- Mantras & Chants - Search for Gayatri Mantra, Shanti Mantra, Mahamrityunjay Mantra, Buddhist Chants and the likes on YouTube & pick up the version/artist you like the most. There are tons of versions of mantras & chants on the net.
- Indian Classical Music - Search for music by the maestros like Kishori Amonkar, Pandit Jasraj, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Shobha Gurtu, Bhimsen Joshi and the likes
- Instrumentals - Search for music by the maestros like Pandit Zakir Hussain, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and the likes
- Old Bollywood Classics - Songs by Lata, Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Asha, Manna Dey and the likes.
- Sufi & Gazal Music - Search for music by singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Wadali Brothers, Ghulam Ali and the likes.
Music From Different Cultures - A simple YouTube search will give you loads of music from various cultures. For example, this Christmas, I searched up Carols from different languages & cultures.
Explore the entire collection of articles: Early Learning & Brain Development