4 WAYS TO MAKE MUSIC WITH YOUR BABY
Posted by Emma Playle on 28 Jan 2020
There’s been a bit of a baby boom within my friends and family circle. 3 little girls have arrived, there’s a little boy due in Feb and a ‘surprise’ to come in May!
It’s been 8 years since my little girl was born and it’s amazing how quickly the memories of having a very reliant newborn have faded. However, when enjoying some very lovely cuddles with the new babies, (and feeling smug that I will then hand them back and have an uninterrupted night of sleep!) those memories of new motherhood flood back.
One of the highlights for me was attending a weekly class with my daughter and, as a professional singer, a music class was the obvious choice. We joined Monkey Music when she was just 12 weeks old and it soon became the best part of our week. What blew me away was how the music became such a key part of her development and learning. I truly expected just to sing a few nursery rhymes and shake some maracas but the curriculum was so much more, helping her to achieve a multitude of milestones and skills. I became really interested in the part music played in child development and soon trained to become a Monkey Music Teacher which eventually led to me buying the franchise.
Having taught hundreds of babies and young children, I tend to switch in to teacher mode when in the presence of my friends’ new babies. When giving my ‘Brit Award’ winning rendition of ‘Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes’ to my niece, my sister remarked that when it comes to stimulating baby at home, she had no idea where to start! This got me thinking….
I spoke to another new Dad (high powered businessman, whose job was his life turned totally smitten Daddy addicted to the baby sling!) and he was fascinated to hear about music and its baby developmental aspect. He was also keen to understand what to do with baby at home too.
So I thought maybe a little blog of ideas may be a good place to start in the hope that it will give carers the tools to have a go at home.
We all instinctively use rhythm in our daily parental lives. We pat their backs to sooth, rock them to our chests, make a “shhhhh” sound for sleep, push the pram back and forth to settle. We use two syllable baby talk for animals e.g. doggy, horsey, bunny. We “babble” baby talk. These are all fantastic things for baby. Here are a few more ideas for you to use at home with a guide as to how they will help with your baby’s development:
Finding a sound with their eyes and their ears is fantastic for joining the neural pathways in the brain, in other words, it makes connections.
Find a sound that resonates (like a ding…) or shakes (pasta in a container) and move it around close to your baby so that their ears have to find it and then their eyes. Older babies will try and reach and grab the sound already demonstrating early hand-eye co-ordination!
With your sound, show your baby where the sound comes from, circling around them and and watching out for their tracking skills. Next, hide it under a blanket or behind your back but keep playing the sound whilst it is hidden. Your baby will be able to hear it but not see it. This helps them to learn that even though they can’t see something, it is still there, which helps with separation anxiety and night-time waking. They will soon grasp the concept that even if they can’t see something, it’s not gone forever.
Old MacDonald has stood the test of time and it’s not just because it is a catchy tune. Singing animal songs to babies really aids early language skills. They will study your face and the way your lips and teeth and tongue shape the sounds. Eventually they will try and copy which gets their mouths in the position for speech. So easy sounds like “Baaaa”, “Moooo” and “Neigh” are all great places to start. Once they can do those, progress with more tricky sounds like “tweet”, “croak”, “hiss”!
FINDING THE BEAT
When music comes on the radio, pop baby on your lap and pat the beat on their backs, shoulders or knees. This opens them up to being able to feel the pulse of the music. They are used to a rhythm already, hearing Mummy’s heartbeat in the womb and may find this reassuring. However, being able to predict rhythm is a key part of early years learning. Rhythm is in everything from English to Maths, Languages to Science and even Sport! As baby brains are forming, noticing and understanding rhythm and being able to predict the beat are scientifically proven to help children academically in the future. Your babies are amazing!
I hope these ideas are useful to you. For further reading, I love this article on how music benefits very young babies, from Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm
If you would like to hear more about Music and Your Baby, Monkey Music are holding a FREE workshop for babies 0-8mths at The Olive Tree, Ashtead Park Garden Centre, Pleasure Pit Road, Ashtead KT21 1HU
Thursday 30 January at 12.30pm
There are very limited spaces. Please click here to book http://bit.ly/MusicAndYourBaby
Alternatively you are welcome to come to a FREE first class with us at Monkey Music – for babies and toddler 3mths – 4yrs– just click here: http://bit.ly/MMLheadDking