A recent study done by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music found that 67% of children learn to play a musical instrument. The best time to learn is when children are young - generally they will pick up the techniques and skills needed quickly. Research done by the University of Montreal also found that learning an instrument can make fundamental changes to your brain - but only when children are young. These changes are beneficial and help to improve sensory reaction times, as well as tactile and auditory reactions. The university also found that learning a musical instrument helps children in other aspects of their lives, enhancing spatial reasoning, literary skills and verbal memory. Whilst your child is young, it is important to nurture their love for music - it is a gift that will keep on giving throughout their life.
Enrol them in an online course
Even for children as young as four or five, taking part in an online course can be a really good way of starting them on a musical journey. There are a wide range of music programmes available that cover basic skills, such as learning to count how many beats in a bar and to tap out rhythms from reading notation. Your child can learn to sing either on their own, or with a group of other children. They can also learn to play an instrument such as the guitar, piano, violin or flute without the need to travel to after school classes.
Listen to music together
The wonderful thing about children is that they don’t care what is number one in the charts or who is the latest pop star. You can play any style of music to young children, from Mozart and Beethoven to B.B.King, and they will appreciate the rhythms and sounds. Music is also excellent for encouraging creativity, and inspiring movement and art. Listening to music with your child is one of the easiest things to do if you want to nurture their love for music. You merely have to play them pop songs, orchestral pieces or even 1970s prog rock - the more diverse the repertoire you expose them to, the better. Treat each car journey as the opportunity to play something different, and enjoy music together in the house while you are cooking, playing games together and getting ready for bedtime.
Enjoy the simplicity of sound
Remember when you spent a happy hour playing a saucepan drum kit with a couple of wooden spoons? Life can still be like this for children: it doesn’t have to be about tablets and smartphones. Young children love to play with simple instruments that make a sound. A Pringles tube with rice in and a shoebox guitar with elastic band strings can still bring as much joy as any modern technology.
Nurturing your child’s love of music can be as simple as turning on the radio. The benefits of music can help them grow and flourish in the future.
Written by Jennifer Dawson.