Question

Music for Young Children

I let my new-born listen to nursery rhymes everyday. What other music should I play to help him develop music interest?

What the Expert Says

By Joey Lye

Founder and Principal of Juzmusic Academy

Masters in Music, Bachelor in Music from University of Houston, USA, Suzuki certified (Piano, Early Childhood Education)

Expert in Suzuki method, Music education, curriculum and performance

Let your personal preference be your guide. If you like Jazz or Mandopop, go with that, or liven things up with some Brazilian beats. Anything with a good melody will do, although slow songs work better for nap time and fast ones for playtime. You may want to refrain from playing head-banging heavy metal or rap, as research showed that babies prefer pleasant and harmonic music rather than discordant and harsh sounds.

Classical Music can Improve Child’s Spatial Reasoning

Research has also shown that children who listened to classical music could do spatial tasks more quickly, such as completing a jigsaw puzzle or Rubik’s cube. The classical music pathways in our brains are similar to those we use for spatial reasoning, hence when we listen to classical music, the spatial pathways are turned on and ready to be used. Classical music by composers like Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart is different from pop music, as it is more complex in structure. Scientists believe that the complexity is what enables the brain to solve spatial problems faster.

Nursery Rhymes Teach Children How Language Works

But this doesn’t mean that other types of music are not good. Listening to other kinds of music helps build other pathways in the brain. Nursery rhymes are fabulous for the brains too. Not only does the repetition of rhymes and stories teach children how language works, it also builds on their memory capabilities.

Engage Your Children Actively with Music

Other things you can do is to sing to your baby. Don’t worry about how you sound, your child will not be critical of your voice, but will love the attention. You could sing lullabies before nap time, and happy songs during playtime. E.g. Sing Hickory Dickory Dock and pretend to be a ticking clock.

Let your baby make his own music. Your baby will enjoy playing on a drum, triangle, tambourine or xylophone. Expose them to different instruments, and they will enjoy the experience.

We do all these to cultivate a love for music in our children. Listening and making music should be about having fun and exposing your child to new sounds and rhythms. Sign up for a music and movement class, one that involves home listening activities, which will help cultivate the love for music in your child.

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