One of the questions I love to ask parents in my music classes, year after year, is do you have a favorite song? A favorite band? A favorite style of music? And the follow up question is always, what do you listen to with your child?
If you think the only appropriate music to share with your children includes songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star & the Wheels on the Bus, I’ve got great news for you. All music can be great for your child’s development.
Studies tell us that music encourages all areas of development in babies and young children. It promotes development in intellectual, emotional, social, motor, and language skills and aids in literacy. Musical exposure during the early years of a child’s life can assist with phonemic awareness and their ability to recognize the meanings and sounds of words. Dancing is a great way to develop gross motor skills and certainly encourages self- expression. Music strengthens memory in adults & in children. Lay all of these things aside, and there is still the joy that comes from music. For myself, especially, music brings joy. It’s in every corner of our worlds. It provides the soundtrack to our lives.
I’m of the opinion that sharing songs that you love with your children strengthens your bond and provides a commonality that you can continue to share as they grow. My parents gave me Chicago, Billy Joel, Cheap Trick, Journey, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and a deep appreciation for classical music. I gave my daughter John Mayer, among other things. Continuum sang her to sleep for most of her first 3 years. We’re still waiting for him to record a decent album again so that she can see him live in concert with me. I also gave her heavily edited Jay Z and a reworked Fergalicious - “I’m Kailerlicious, my diet is nutritious, I be up at Gymboree just workin on my fitness…” And I never hesitate to point out to her that Everlong by The Foo Fighters is one of the greatest songs ever written. We sing together, she & I . Sometimes, we harmonize. It’s the culmination of a dream that’s been in my heart since long before she was born.
If there is music that makes you happy, that you love, I beg you, give it to your children. It’s a gift. I promise you those songs will color their memories of growing up with you. Give them music. Give them joy.