Your baby was musical before he/she was even born…so were you! Here are some tips on how to nurture their natural musical gifts.
1. Acknowledge their natural musicality
Notice and imitate your baby and toddler’s sounds. If they babble, you babble back. If they bang a box with their hands squealing with delight, copy them. If they bop up and down to music, bop with them! If they want to spend time blowing raspberries on you belly – let them! Entering their sound world encourages them to express themselves, which naturally leads to speaking, singing and playing instruments.
Sing to your baby before they are born. Sing them to sleep after they are born. As they become more aware of things around them, like the moon, the dog, the cat, bananas, flowers and so on, sing nursery rhymes or made up songs about them. Sing for your own enjoyment in the kitchen, in the car, in the shower. Let them see YOU singing and loving it!
When you play your favourite music place your baby in your sling if you have one or carry him/her on your hip and GO FOR IT! Your baby will love the movement combined with the rhythms they can hear. Dancing is fun and energising and therefore a beautiful way to bond with your child. If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, depressed or frustrated this is the perfect time to get up and dance. You and your baby will experience directly the power of music as you transform into a more present, happier state of being.
4. Play an Instrument
Choose a simple instrument such as a drum, ukulele, Gasong Drum, native american flute. dream harp or crystal singing bowl. These are ALL easy to play and great ways to express yourself musically. If you want to go a step further learn the piano – I always recommend the Simply Music program – or another instrument you may have always wanted to play. It’s NEVER too late to learn! This will have a profound impact on your child’s musical confidence as they will see YOU expressing yourself musically. Playing music will then be “normal” in their mind. By the way, there is no need to be a concert pianist or expert drummer…all that is necessary is that you play an instrument for the sheer enjoyment of creating music!
5. Listen to Music
Listen to music in the kitchen as you cook, in the loungeroom to relax, when you are putting baby to sleep, in the car. Vary the music so your child has the experience of hearing the smorgesbord of music that has been created in this world so far – classical, rock, blues, indian, country and western, new age… Make sure it is music YOU enjoy. At the same time notice what reactions your baby has to the different music. What do they like? If they are content and happy they like it. If they start to squirm and cry try something different. The main idea is that listening to music is a part of your daily life.
When YOU enjoy singing, dancing, playing and listening to music your baby will naturally grow into a child and adult who uses music to express themselves and enrich their everyday lives.
Nicole Lloyd B(Mus) is a mother of four girls and creator of SoundBirth. Here she shares her experiences using sound before, during and after the birth and anything else about sound or birth that she feels like writing about!