Let’s start with a bit of science!
Many neuroscience studies have shown there is a significant impact on the brain itself from engaging with music. Music Educator Anita Collins states that music is excellent at making all 3 areas of the brain fire at once (usually thought or activity concentrates on one particular area). So when engaging in music, we are giving the brain a full workout. It enriches connections between the analytical left and creative right hemispheres and boosts brain function – promoting better decision making, processing and retention of information. Anita said if we could see the 'fireworks' going on in a young child’s brain when they are engaged in musical activity, then more people would realise the very real benefit music can have on a child’s all-round learning.
Scans of newborn babies’ brains have shown that they hear music when their mothers speak to them which shows that we need our music ‘processing’ to understand language. Even before birth, we are musical; the unborn baby is listening 3-4 months before birth!
The infant-directed speech that we all seem to use as parents is as close to singing as you can get. It has a higher pitch and more pitch contours than adult-directed speech, as well as being slower with longer pauses and shorter phrases. That being said, another recent study by the University of Montreal found that singing calms babies for longer than speech alone. They also found that Western mothers in particular speak much more often than sing to their children and are therefore missing out on the emotion-regulatory properties of singing. So, when your baby cries – sing!
Those of you with toddlers probably already know how inherently musical they are. They bang cups and toys in rhythms, they vocalise their play and sing constantly! Children’s ears are open to sound. Why not nurture that from this early age? Children can learn musical skills in the same easy unconscious way that they learn speech and language. People who have had musical training demonstrate enhanced speech perception on a wide range of different tasks and have advantages in other language related skills.
Going to a music group with your little one can help pattern recognition, build a vivid imagination and promote teamwork and social skills. It can also develop a child’s confidence and self-esteem, and encourage a discipline when it comes to study. Long-term, these skills remain to foster effective learning throughout a child’s school career and beyond, continuing to have an effect in later life in helping to delay cognitive decline.
Here at Brittens we run Colourstrings, a music class for children aged 6 months to 7 years old.
It was developed in Finland by Hungarian Geza Svilvay and has been a huge part of the music curriculum used world wide since the 1990’s. These classes not only centre around singing and developing your child’s musicality, they encourage parents to attend the early stages and build their own musical bond with their children and then to let them develop their own musical identities by carrying on independently once they reach about 4. Our Colourstrings classes are split into age appropriate groupings with a maximum of 10 students each time.
Tiny Rascals - Babies to walking
Toddling Rascals - walkers to 2 years
Dancing Rascals - 2-3 years (and new 3-4 years)
Singing Rascals - 3-4 years (without parents)
Rhythm Rascals - 4-7 years (after school)
Rhythm Rascals continuers - advanced 4-7
We also run a mixed age family class for those who would find it easier to attend with more than one sibling at a time or for those who cannot attend our morning classes. These combine elements of Tiny, Toddling and Dancing Rascals although older preschoolers are also welcome.
Click here to visit our Colourstrings page