Making music

playdays / November 5, 2017

What child doesn’t like making noise!  Musical instruments and musical toys can be a great way to improve hand eye coordination, memory confidence and much more!

A study from Northwestern University in Illinois found that the cognitive benefits of music classes were much higher when children were engaging with the music in an interactive way either through learning an instrument, exploring the sounds an instrument makes or being involved in a thorough analysis of the music being played. Simply listening to music was not as beneficial as engaging with it.

Now that you know that the benefits of music come from interacting with it consider how you might best excite your child about music and the making of it. A great way to get started is with some DIY music makers, great if you are on a budget but also helpful if you want to explore what types of music making most appeal to your child before purchasing a dedicated toy or instrument.   

Be warned; DO NOT plan the following activities if you are very tired, have a headache, enjoyed a glass of wine too many the night before or have incredibly expensive and/or fragile kitchenware

Your kitchen cupboards hold an orchestra of sounds and a wonderful opportunity to delve into the world of percussion.  Pull out different shaped colanders, sieves and pots and pans and then dig through your utensils for wooden spoons, potato mashers or ladles to be your strikers. different textures will create different sounds, for example, a wooden spoon being run across a fine mesh sieve will create a very different sound from a metal spoon being run across it.

Encourage your child to experiment with the different sounds that can be made and then have them choose their top 5 sounds and implements.  Challenge their memory by stringing together a handful of noises and have them play them back to you in the correct sequence.  This activity could even be the start of an exploration of composing and songwriting as your child explores making a repeatable beat and considers what lyric or words could be paired with it.

If your child is a very literal thinker improvising musical instruments out of everyday objects may be a challenge for them, if it is a struggle that is causing more anxiety or frustration than is healthy, help them out by providing prompts and suggestions.  Looking at pictures of normal instruments may be helpful as your child can connect them with the more abstract concept of improvised instruments, the comparison of cymbals to two pot lids can be a good place to start.

And if you decide to put in earplugs during this adventure, we certainly won’t judge you!

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