It is quite clear that every child has a different personality. Not long after birth, they soon develop their own ways of reacting to the world around them. They laugh at different expressions and actions their parents exhibit, they find their own way of expressing their needs, and they observe and learn to mirror facial expressions they see. Your baby is responding to the environmental stimuli they experience all around them. So how will your child react to music and what does it mean when they do?
Babies begin making their own “music” right away after birth as a way to express themselves. Through crying, cooing, and laughing, they are making music of their own, and it is this same “music” that eventually helps them to learn to sing. Imagine the amount of stimulus they receive while growing in the womb. They hear their parents’ voices, music that others are listening to, as well as all the other sounds that are going on in the world.
Studies have shown that babies are also wired to “receive” music, and at birth, they can already recognize musical changes in dynamics, tempo, and mood, even going so far as to sometimes recognize pitch and dissonance. This ability is especially enhanced when the child is pre-exposed to the Nuryl curriculum as early as 5 months prenatal. It is at this point that their hearing is fully developed which makes it the best time to start introducing your child to music!
At first, their musical reactions might seem more involuntary and less deliberate, with them slightly moving to the music, their eyes showing some focus on what they are listening to. There might also be moments of stillness where their brains are processing the music. We hear this a lot from parents using the Nuryl curriculum where their child is really getting into listening to the complex musical changes while their brain is trying to take it all in. This listening is really helping to “exercise” important brain connections. We know that the neural network grows exponentially and those connections that are created but not used are eliminated to help different experiences wire their young brains.
As they grow and continue to be exposed to music, parental interactions like dance can help them understand how to move and assimilate this into their small but growing palette of social movements. Your child will feel your movements and develop what is called “body memory”. Eventually, they will begin to recall these movements and exhibit them on their own, and even fall into the rhythm of the music as time goes on.
With the Nuryl curriculum, we feel that this parental interaction is crucial to getting them to focus correctly on the music and help stimulate their cognitive growth. We suggest the following as you share the playlists with your child:
- Bouncing them lightly to the rhythm of the music.
- Tapping your fingers on their body to the tempo of the song.
- Singing the melodies when you get familiar with them. Also humming the root notes in the musical lessons.
- Dancing and spinning them along with the music.
- Make sure to babble back to your child when they are expressing their interest in the music. This helps with both music and language development!
Seeing your child react in their own way to the music they hear is a beautiful thing. Keep an eye out for the following reactions:
- Moving their arms and feet to the rhythm of the music. This is actually the precursor to dancing for them.
- Cooing along with the music, or even rhythmic tongue movements. Believe it or not, this is them trying to sing!
- Your child might produce a smile or laugh when they hear music, and especially if they hear music that is familiar to them. The repetition of replaying songs to your child is an important cornerstone to the Nuryl curriculum!
- As they get older, you may hear them shout out quick notes of their own, as if they are trying to sing along with the music. It will be clear they are reacting to what they hear, and hopefully in a positive way.
- Watch for repetitive motions as well. These would be movements they continually do when they hear music. Call it their “signature moves”!
It’s a wonderful thing to share the love of music with your child and these early months are a crucial growing period for their brains when this music can really help shape their neural network. Whether you expose them to Nuryl’s procured curriculum or introduce them to music on your own, it is sure to be one of the most valuable experiences you can give them, while creating a wonderful bonding time for child and parents!