"Kristen does a great job of engaging the kids balanced with a command of the group. She incorporates educational aspects of music that are particularly appropriate for PreK kids - it's very exciting to watch! She uses active and quality songs that kids continued to sing, even after the class is over. The children are SO excited when they realize it is Ms. Kristen (music) day! I think she provides a balanced and exciting musical experience for the kids and is an asset to The Chapel's preschool program."
Making music with your child is an amazing and wonderful experience! And...it's SO EASY! Below, we'll discuss WHY it's so important to be a musical family. My next blog will include simple games, songs and activities to do at home that will engage, develop and ensure your child grows in her love of music!
Myth 1: Music is nature. You're either born with it or you're not. Myth 2: Music is nurture. With the right practice, anyone can be Mozart. Truth: Music is both. Our nature requires nurture in early childhood or some of what we are born with is lost permanently.
Have you heard these before:
She gets it from her father's side of the family... No, actually she doesn't. Nature does provide us with a genetic endowment which includes (among every other human potential) the potential to learn music, but our experiences/nurturing from birth to age three actually have the greatest impact on the kind of musician we ultimately become.
From birth to age three we're usually surrounded by immediate family. This is the reason music often seems to run in families (i.e. seems to be 'nature only'). In fact, studies tracing hundreds of different families backwards through two generations have discredited the myth of 'he get's it from his mother' or 'she get's it from her grandfather'. So, unless you get it from your great-grandparents, we cannot predict the 'nature' side of things based on ancestry. Music uses so many disparate areas of the brain, it is probably too complex to be heritable.
Birth to Age Three--The Most Potent Stage Birth to age three has an enormous impact for two main reasons.
Ideal early childhood interactions helps to retain whatever nature gave us, and
The earlier we begin to nurture our nature, the more time we have to develop to the fullest.
Music Aptitude All children are born with some degree of potential to learn music. Regardless of what degree of music aptitude a child is born with, it will decline without rich early childhood musical interactions. Our brains contain synapse (picture a thread connector in your brain.) When the synapse is engaged, it stays constant. When that synapse is not being used it dies off to allow room for growth of other synapses. (See Dr. John Feierabend)
How Do We Learn Music? (quite like language) In learning order, the 5 'vocabularies' of language are:
Early Childhood Stages (also known as: Preparatory Audiation) There are three broad stages of learning that ready a child to think & contextualize the music of her environment. The stages are as follows:
1. Acculturation: A stage of absorption of sound & movement. In Acculturation, we provide the experiences that initiate her listening & movement vocabularies. Such as:
Sing to her --using all modes & meters: you engage her, and the mode/meter differences spark learning
Chant rhythmic poetry - Mother Goose, Edward Lear, etc. (and wordless raps too!!)
Model tonal & rhythm patterns; pause to allow baby to audiate (start around 18 mo.)
Model movements--esp. free flowing full body movements, and macro/microbeat mvts.
2. Imitation: She now attempts to imitate (initially inaccurately) the sounds & movements absorbed via Acculturation.
Accuracy will increase over time given proper feedback (described next)
Facilitate comparisons: playfully conversationally imitate her inaccuracies then return to original
Don't force responses or correct inaccuracies; just model correctness & imitate her.
3. Assimilation: This stage is about discovering differences. Your feedback in the Imitation stage leads her to notice that her sounds & movements don't match yours. Now she has the necessary information to correct herself, and accuracy emerges. We must:
Continue Acculturation & Imitation activities
Encourage flow--curvy movements with the whole body (using lots of space)
Foster beat competency--via flow that emphasizes shifting body weight (sway, bounce, etc.)
Continue playful feedback as she begins to coordinate her breathing, singing & moving
Encourage improvisation - via “musical conversations.”
Onward Towards Audiation (contextualized musical thinking)
Initially her vocal range is about D to A (above middle C). Sing in that range! (See Dr. Kenneth Phillips, Teaching Kids to Sing)
Grow her Tonal (singing) Vocabulary via I-V7 patterns in Major & Minor