Happy Friday everyone! I hope you've all had a great March Break and were able to get out and enjoy the sunshine or time with your families! I was able to do a bit of the same and have kept busy working on side projects and doing make-up lessons this week. I've had a few new students get started lately too and I'm so excited to begin our journey together making music and growing in confidence and self-expression! Exciting times!
Last week I began this post with a list of benefits young children get from participation in a regular music program, and in case the length of these posts didn't give it away- I am INSANELY passionate about this! There is so much for children to gain through music education and I believe with every fiber of my being that all children should be exposed to it and make it a regular part of their daily lives from the day they're born! If you want to know more, read on! And don't forget to check out Part 1 if you haven't already!
Interpersonal Skills & Teamwork
Music making, more often than not, is a team sport. Sure, there are many soloists, but not in a class! Kids must work together in circle games and activities, keeping the beat or singing together. As they grow this becomes more about working together in ensembles, listening to each other, blending and collaborating creatively.
I also want to add that music really helps establish lifelong friendships. When you make music together, particularly singing, the coordination of breathing unites people. Overcoming challenges in rehearsal and experiencing the high of performing together bonds you in ways no other activity can. Even for the little ones- the shared joy and enthusiasm I see between them each day is so heart-warming! I have no doubt there are some wonderful relationships forming before my eyes!
Creativity & Imagination
So many songs I use and teach my young students contain so much vibrant imagery and creative characters that the kids simply adore! These songs take the children on a journey into an imaginary world, encouraging them to think outside the box and imagine things beyond their scope of reality. They make the impossible seem attainable in so many ways! Isn’t this so much better than watching cartoons?!
This sense of creativity and imagination can be encouraged and developed throughout their whole lives, but it has to start young! And believe me, this world needs more creative people! Think of the different academic achievements they may reach or the career success they can experience when they are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with new worlds and ideas?
Emotional Expression & Control
Dear readers, who here has ever used a favourite song to get pumped up for an event or shed some breakup tears to an expressive ballad? *Raises hand enthusiastically!* Well then, you understand just how poignant a song can be and how much easier it makes for us to connect to and understand our emotions, even as a listener. Imagine how therapeutic it can be for the performer?!
This is the same for the young ones. Of course it is a much more basic approach, but songs and experimenting with vocal expression help children to identify emotions they experience and the emotional, expressive components of songs they may sing or listen to help them express themselves too! Singing about how they are feeling today is one of my kinders’ favourite thing to do at the beginning of class. And by the time we’re done, even those who said they were feeling tired or sad are smiling and giggling their worries away.
Additionally- music can be so soothing! I encourage all you parents (or teachers!) out there to use it to your advantage. When you have a little one with an emotional meltdown or having a grumpy day, turn on some upbeat, happy or soothing music. I can guarantee you it will have a positive effect for your child.
I think my personal favourite part of teaching preschool music classes is how much they love it! They are always singing to themselves, or excited to sing about Herman the Worm or the Little Red Wagon. And don’t get me started on how pumped they get to play the drum or do movement exploration activities to music! This appreciation for music seriously makes my heart soar! And this is truly only the beginning of a life of appreciation for music that can be fostered in every single human.
The older they get they come to appreciate virtuosity in performers, songwriting, the creative process or even just understanding how much work it is to be a musician! And if not that, they come to love the place music can have in their lives from the basic day to day routines of listening to the radio, a first dance at a wedding or fun music festival trips with friends.
Like everything, it starts somewhere. Why not give them the gift early in their lives so they can carry it with them through every stage and become appreciative members of society? Musicians everywhere thank you.
Abundant Pride, Joy & Self-Esteem
I’ve mentioned it several times already but the best part of early childhood music classes is the happiness those children exude! Isn’t the joy music brings to kids worth every penny or moment waiting in traffic en route to the class? Consider too the pride they feel when they finally master the words to a song, or learn new actions to go with it? Or the lit up faces when they hear a song they recognize from class? What about after a major performance with their class with loved ones in the audience cheering them on?
There is no comparison to the feeling of pride and the self-esteem that comes with that is so needed for kids today! Trust me, once you see the joy on a child’s face through music, you will be changed forever seeing the possibilities it can grant them.
There seriously is nothing better than the joy of a child. Amiright?!
Honestly- there is SO much more I could include in this blog post. The benefits of early music education really, truly are endless. Which is why I am so honoured, blessed and excited to be able to share music with the little ones I teach. All of these benefits apply to students in private music lessons too! I start taking kids at age six for singing lessons, but some other instruments are able to be taught even younger. If this blog has convinced you and you have a little one at home- don’t wait!
I am thrilled to announce that I will soon be offering more opportunities for this young age! I’ve had parents approach me already with inquiries if I run classes for kindergarten-aged students, and as I said before, the lack of options around here is too disheartening. So I plan to help change that! I can now officially say that Alison Dawn Voice & Music will be offering a Toddler Music class for ages 2-3 and another for children aged 4-5 beginning in April at Touchstone Academy in Rothesay. Everyone is welcome! There are also plans in the works for summer sessions, so make sure you follow me on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date. Registration will be open soon, and space is limited. Feel free to send me a message or e-mail to reserve your spot!
Until then, keep on finding your voice and let it sing!