I am frequently asked why music works so well with children. As a music therapist, Kindermusik educator, and mother of two, there are just so many ways to answer that question, citing research etc. But in my OWN words, THIS is a short version of why I believe so strongly in the power of music – for it’s innate responses it provokes in the human body, and the fact that it lends itself so well to be used as a powerful tool, in coordination with loving guidance.
A child learns best when they enjoy the process of learning, and desire comes from within the child themselves. Music and movements that spark enthusiasm in a child makes the whole learning process FUN, and the desire to repeat the process comes from within.
Neurologically speaking, as the initial synapses occur, forming a bridge of knowledge in a child’s brain, strong emotions are “attached” to this connection. Negative emotions, such as coercion or punishment, cause a child to want to avoid that situation. Positive parental attention, paired with music and movements they LOVE, establish a pattern of positive emotions connected with what they are learning, and cause the child to desire continued repetitions of these skills.
Continued positive repetitions of skills leads to ritualistic habits, and the child is eventually able to generalize these skills to a variety of situations where they can perform them independently.
The greatest piece of advice I have is that it is so important to recognize that each child has their OWN personality. It is our job as parents to learn and nuture these unique personalities, finding out what “makes them tick”, and setting up their environment and our responses to meet their unique needs.