Thoughts on music, part 3 (“the foundation upon which music skills are built”)

Kindermusik 30-year veteran and guru Carol Penney shares some thoughts on music in a five-day, five part series. Check back with Minds on Music each day for the next post!

When my boys were toddlers, I perfected the art of clenching my teeth as I encountered strong will, defiance, and creative problem solving that usually involved something dangerous (we've all see the chair with three books precariously stacked on top while little hands reached for the cookie jar). I also discovered how quickly my locked jaw could transform into a melted heart. Toddlers are so darn cute! It was frequently hard to stay present for all that adorableness as I juggled the responsibilities of family, job, church, and neighborhood.

As I hang around toddlers — perhaps to continue my grandmothering internship — I'm amazed at what I'm learning. Jumping, for example, is filled with a therapeutic joy! Songs, movement, and rhymes are always a hit, no matter the mood or time of day. And, not coincidentally, these activities create the foundation upon which music skills are built.

Incorporate these into your day to encourage a happy, musical toddlerhood:

Rhymes — rhyming words support the development of languages, both spoken and musical. (Kindermusik will expand your repertoire. It sure did mine!)
Movement — moving large muscles promotes both learning and the development of steady beat. Toddlers especially love movements that challenge, such as jumping and galloping. Add a stopping part and you’ll be rewarded with spontaneous giggles and great partice of self-control.
Sing, sing, sing! — no training necessary…only the joyful enthusiasm that your toddler will model. From "The Wheels on the Bus" to "Yellow Submarine" to some silly nonsense song you make up, singing creates sweet moments, fosters creativity, and establishes a great sense of pitch.
Play, play, play! — anything is a potential drum or shaker. Explore the house for sound makers and accompany your singing, dancing, and favorite iPod hits. (Sound discrimination supports language development and auditory skills.)
-Carol Penney, Kindermusik educator and employee-owner

Check back tomorrow for part 4 of the series!

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