Music is a part of a child’s life even before birth. Mom’s constant heartbeat or the cadence of her walk feel normal. Once in mom’s arms, there are lullabies, tinkling mobiles, cooing. So much learning is enhanced with music. Has any child learned the ABC’s without the accompanying song? Rhythm and clapping songs. Head & shoulders, knees and toes. Twinkle twinkle little star.
Children in the early primary grades become alert to the influence of music in their lives. They crave it. Music becomes an identifier. They discover what their friends are listening to and find immediate connections, as their due north starts to shift from home to friends. They’re still in both camps, but the direction is clear. Self-expression and attending to internal differences are secondary to the rush of belonging.
In adolescence lyrics, mood, causes and general rebellion can drive musical choices. They match and sometimes drive the changes and challenges our children face. And they serve as glue for social groups – capturing the serious or darker feelings without having to ever really talk about them. They share the music. That may be enough said.
Welcome to the powerful world of music in our children’s lives. We fold them into our religious traditions – with music. We participate in our communities – with music. Let’s explore ways we can help our children appreciate and manage the beautiful power of music (and dance!) in their lives.