Recently NAFME posted a wonderful article that discusses the unique process of play and how it can actually help your child to learn music. Whether it be at home or in a class setting, "Play" is the most powerful learning tool your child has, and they are BORN with this skill.
Here is a little bit of biology for you. When you allow your child to play with an object (for example- an egg shaker), your child's neural pathways light up. These little neural pathways are like hiking trails, each path you take can teach you something new about your surroundings. So, when you give your child an object, the object becomes their "path." Then, as they "experiment" (play) with their object they start to learn valuable information about it. All of a sudden it isn't just some "thing", its something that has an actual texture, feel, sound, and even taste.
Imagine you give your child the egg shaker every day. From what you as a parent observe when your little one is about five months...they are just starting to get good at holding things. As you observe them with the egg shaker you notice they are moving it up and down, side to side, and putting it in their mouth. Then they give the object a little shake and EUREEKA! Their world is forever transformed. The shaking may not be rythmical, and it may only be for a brief moment in time... but that is a defining moment. From then on, each time they play with that object, they will strive to get that same reaction. Eventually, they will realize that THEY control the shaking...and then a whole NEW learning process will begin.
This doesn't have to be true of just egg shakers. This can be true of all music and musical activities... As per the NAFME article: "To lay a strong foundation for future music-learning, children ages birth through five need many opportunities for developmentally appropriate, non-performance oriented music activities that support their innate tendency to play, both at home and in school."
So make sure at home you allot some time for musical play. Children are born experts at it.
-Stacie Levy Norris
Read the NAFME article here: https://nafme.org/want-young-children-to-play-music/
For more information about Music Together- visit www.musictogether.com.