Why you should be exposing your child to different kinds of music!
As parents, we all know that we should listen to music with our kids. But what kind of music should we listen to? And what are the benefits? To answer these questions, we need to think about how children learn music!
Children learn music the same way they learn language. We know that children who grow up in a household where they are exposed to a large language vocabulary learn to speak with a large vocabulary. They grow up with the ability to understand and communicate at an impressive level! The same is true with music. We want to expose children to many different styles of music, both simple and complex, to create a large “musical vocabulary.”
What are the benefits of exposing children to a large musical vocabulary?
When young children grow up listening to a large variety of musical sounds, they grow up ready to sing, play, dance, and fully enjoy an incredibly rich variety of music! Children who are exposed to a large musical vocabulary during their early years tend to have a lifelong connection to music and an easier time relating to lots of different musical styles.
If you have ever listened to Opera or Jazz and found you simply couldn’t enjoy it or relate to it, it’s probably because these styles sounded foreign to you just like a foreign language would! When we expose children to these different styles when they’re young, it makes it easy for them to understand and enjoy.
So, what kinds of music should I be exposing my child to?
Listening to popular children’s music is great, but so is listening to unusual and complex music! Listen to music with your little one that includes music based on:
- Minor keys such as “Elephants on the Web!”
- “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles is a great example of a popular song in a minor key!
- Unusual scales and chords such as the Diminished chord featured in “Bugs!”
Add in a little rhythmic variety by throwing in mixed meters like:
- Alternating 6/8 and ¾ mixed meter such as “Go Mommy!”
- “America” from the musical West Side Story has the same rhythm!
- 7/8 mixed meter as heard in “Doggie’s Breakfast!”
Even young children can learn complex music, just like young children can understand complex words and sentences when that language is part of their everyday life!
We don’t expect 2- or 3-year-olds to accurately sing back all the complex music we expose them to, but when they are older their “musical vocabulary” will shine. I regularly hear from parents who, years after leaving my classes, will share that their child recognized a classical piece from when they were little or simply how amazed they are that their child went to their first orchestra concert or jazz performance and loved it. It’s so much easier for children who were exposed to these complex sounds when they were little to understand and be able to enjoy these sounds when they’re older. For those of us who didn’t get that early exposure – it’s much more difficult to learn later in life!
By now you’re probably thinking “I get it, but where can I find songs that my child will like that include this kind of musical variety and complexity?” On The Music Class Collections of course! You can stream our “On the Road” Collection on Spotify for free, which features mixed meter, Jazz, Rock, traditional vocal harmonies from South Africa, and one of the top 10 Western songs of all time (Red River Valley!) At The Music Class, we make a point to include music with a large variety of scales, rhythms, instruments, and musical styles on our recordings and in every class. We promise your kids will love it and you will too!