“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
“Music can change the world because it can change people.”
From thousands of years ago, to present day, the power of music has always seemed to be known.
Here at Toronto Waldorf Academy alternative school we believe in instilling an appreciation of music from a young age.
You might be wondering what you, as a parent, can do at home to foster an appreciation of music.
What types of music should you expose your child to?
Should you encourage your child to learn an instrument?
Keep reading to find out more.
The Benefits Of Music
An early introduction and appreciation for music can offer lifetime benefits for children.
Creating rich sensory environments for children – which includes exposure to music, as well as a variety of tastes, textures, colours, and sound – helps to develop pathways between cells in the brain.
Increased neural connections will help children to excel in school, especially in areas such as reading and math.
Listening to music will help create these pathways, however actively participating in music-based activities will help create even greater connections.
How Kids Respond Best To Music
At ages 1 through 3, children respond well to music when they are active participants in it.
Activities that get them clapping, rocking, or otherwise moving to the beat are the best way to get them involved.
Songs with simple movements, such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Skinnamarink” (from the Elephant Show), or “The Wheels on the Bus” are great options for getting them moving to the music.
If you need idea for songs, your local library, or online resources like YouTube are full of ideas; or you can have your child make up their own motions to the words of a favourite song, or grab a teddy bear and dance around with it.
Around this age you can start introducing your child to the concept of keeping time as well.
Fashion a makeshift drum out of a cardboard tube and an empty box, and play some music with a steady tempo – encourage them to tap along, building up to more complex rhythms and patterns.
Teaching Your Child An Instrument
At a young age, you can introduce simple instruments to your child.
Toddlers will enjoy things they can shake, such as bells and tambourines, or simple percussive instruments.
Some might be able to use basic wind instruments such as a kazoo or recorder – be sure to ensure you are buying items meant for small hands, and free of choking hazards.
When Your Child Is Ready For Music
The Waldorf educational system begins teaching children more specifically about music during the first grade. It’s our belief that once a child’s baby teeth have fallen out and adult teeth begin to grow in, the body frees up resources which can be used for new tasks, like learning.
At this point, children begin looking for instruction on the nature of music.
What Music To Listen To?
Waldorf educators believe that children still have an innate connection with heaven, and can still hear the music from it. Since the fifth interval is the closest we can come to recreating the music of heaven here on Earth, we use this interval to help our children connect with their spiritual selves.
The fifth interval is a set of notes that gives a feeling of floating, of never really coming to rest but continuing on. It’s particularly ear-catching to young children to listen to music in the fifth interval.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to avoid popular music, which is generally not written using fifth intervals, whether they hear it in passing at a store, at a friend’s or relative’s house, or even out of your own stereo.
As a result, some of our teachers find that certain children are resistant to music in the fifth. However, because this mood is a more childlike mood, connecting them with their deeper spirituality, it’s important for children to return to the mood of the fifth.
Bedtime is a good time for you to sing to your child in the mood of the fifth, as it allows them to gently drift off to sleep in their innocent, childlike state.
Contact Waldorf Academy
Do you want your child to grow up with an appreciation of music?
Do you want them to attend a school where they will gain appreciation of music in the classroom, to complement your efforts to teach music appreciation outside of the classroom?
Than a Waldorf Education may just be the right fit for your child.
Contact us today to set up a meeting to learn what we can do for you and your child.