Music education begins at birth. If children are immersed in quality music, they will develop a musical ear that will allow them to learn to read & appreciate music as they grow! Here are 5 ways to develop your toddler’s musical abilities:
- Listen to high quality music every day, from various genres (variety is excellent for training the ear).
- Develop rhythm with various activities. Using body parts (feet, hands, arms, etc), encourage tapping, clapping, flapping, etc – along with music and alone. Using various tools – toys, drumsticks, etc – to tap along will add interest and help this development as well. Without a sense of rhythm, there is no ability to create music.
- Give them opportunities to create music. If you have a keyboard/piano, sit them down, teach them how to play the keys gently (do not allow them to bang, respect for music is important even at this age), and allow them to explore. Any other instruments that are sturdy enough for toddlers can also be used.
- Encourage them to express how different types of music make them feel. This sounds advanced for toddlers, but this can be as simple as having them dance around happily or slowly weave around. When they are a bit older, have them color a picture or shape play-doh to express their feelings about the music. The important thing is for them to realize that music can convey ideas, emotions, and feelings.
- Make it fun. Sing along with a silly song and encourage them to do the same, dance around to some techno music, relax with some classical or New Age music. Make it a part of daily life, something to be enjoyed and embraced, nothing formal or forced.