Did you know that babies, no matter their age, are born musical? It’s true. How a baby learns vs how a toddler/child learns is a very different experience, however. Babies are mostly sensory, they respond more to touch, sound, and movement and until about 6 months need the assistance of their parent to experience stimulus. Toddlers, on the other hand, are on that wonderful journey towards independence and can do a lot of these activities on their own. Since babies rely on grownups so much, what is it that you can do as a parent to help nurture their music education?
It’s simple! The first, most important thing you can do is listen to music. You don’t have to listen to any specific type of music, just load your favorite songs and hit “play”. Your baby wants to be just like you, so if they see you having fun listening to music, they will want to listen too. Also, play different styles. Consider different types of music like vitamins....you want to give your baby the healthiest, most nurturing vitamins. Music is the same, the different styles of music will help aid in their musical development and help stimulate those magical neural pathways we are always talking about.
Second, dance with your baby! That’s right, while playing your fav songs, go ahead and pick your baby up and start dancing with them. When you are moving with your baby, they think they're the one moving. Plus, moving to music in a deliberate way actually stimulates your babies senses and is the start of their early understanding of rhythm. As you are dancing with them they are experiencing music in a very physical way, ultimately developing rhythm.
Third, take your baby to a family music class or visit one online! Taking your baby to a musical class with other babies and parents in a group setting whether virtually or in person will not only give you an outlet and way to socialize and connect with other parents (and allow your baby to connect with other babies), classes also strengthen the bond between you and your baby! There are other benefits to baby music classes too: A recent study out of McMaster University discovered that babies that attended and participated in music classes with their grownups "smile more, communicate better, and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.”
So no matter what age your child/baby is, they are never too young to start their musical education. Listening to different kinds of music at home, dancing with your baby, and attending group classes will give your baby the tools they need to discover their innate musicality.
Read and learn about the McMaster University study here: Read and learn more about the McMast https://www.mcmaster.ca/opr/html/opr/media/main/NewsReleases/Babiesbrainsbenefitfrommusiclessonsresearchersfind.htm