I was working on the computer in my office the other day and Emily came in to play. She lined up a guitar, an upside down coffee can, two Altoids tins, a xylophone and a box full of markers…and then proceeded to make music.
At age four, I see little need to teach scales or insist on a particular instrument. A few months ago she was obsessed with the harmonica, in no small part because her big sister gave it to her, and Sis is pretty darn cool.
What caught my attention was how pretty it sounded. So I dug out my recorder and managed to capture this little tidbit…
Emily has been listening to several sources of music recently. Starfall, which focuses on reading readiness, also has a section on composers and she has shown a great interest in listening to them.
Also, we have the entire two seasons of Little Einsteins, a series of videos that incorporate classical music and art appreciation into little adventures.
And to keep it light, we regularly refresh our music supply with CDs from the library and listen to them as we run errands. These CDs tend to be lighter, Mr. Stinky Feet and I Like Waffles are some of her favorites. I must in good conscience warn other parents that I Like Waffles will stay with you, circulating in your gray matter long after the CD is gone. It’s rather maddening!
Right around the time Emily was born there were a series of commercials promoting singing to/with your young children to help develop language skills. I had to smile, because I had been doing this for years, without even really intending to. As my grown daughter Danielle once said, “Mom, you are the only one I know who sings about not being able to find the exit to the parking lot.” I break into song at any given time, and as a result, Emily does this as well. For both of us, it isn’t even a really conscious thing. I will break into song and realize suddenly I have an audience of bemused faces staring at me.
In the middle of the grocery store, digging through my purse, wrangling the child, cooking a meal, or cleaning – I am just as likely to burst into song as others do in the shower or when alone in the car.
Thankfully I married a man who is just as likely to burst into song – before you know it, all three of us are singing an impromptu song about brushing hair…or slightly less savory topics like…well…farting. Hey, what can I say? I have a four-year-old!
Whether it takes the shape of an eclectic assortment of musical instruments strewn across your office floor…or singing about washing your toes…or singing “I love waffles” on your way to the grocery store…music can set your child’s imagination free. As with all of your child’s interests…feed it, and enjoy it too. Even if it means buying the drum set. Step back and watch them make some magic happen!