With music said to be hugely beneficial for babies’ and children’s development, founder Emma Hutchinson explains why you should know about Music House for Children.
For centuries, parents all over the world have hummed and sung to their babies. The language of music: the undulating rhythm and the rhyme, the repetition of phrases and bars, the rise and fall of melody, gentle dynamics, ambience and musical emotion. Our Little Birdsong music books capture the loveliest ideas for parents to enjoy with their babies – even those who think they can’t sing.
Music has intricate patterns, shapes and contrasts to ignite curiosity and learning. Parents can weave melodies into real life activities – stories, tidying up, getting dressed. Introducing good quality instruments for younger children, such as our hand-crafted wooden instruments, provides tactile and aural experiences that are shared and loved.
The importance of instrumental learning
From these earliest musical experiences parents then want instrumental lessons to help with confidence and develop an analytical, creative mind. Your child might show interest in the piano, or explore a toy saxophone; repeatedly strum a violin, parade with a trumpet or emit a ‘trill’ with a recorder. This is a good time to start music appreciation sessions or instrumental group lessons morphing out of baby music classes, paving the way for formal tuition.
In my experience, many young children are not ready for formal instrumental tuition. This does not mean they cannot learn in other ways. Music is sociable! Learning an instrument takes time. In the words of our patron, Sophie Ellis-Bextor: “My early experiences were joyous and helped with my confidence and communication – forcing a child to learn an instrument can put a young child off for life! Doing lots of music together is a great thing, as demonstrated by Music House for Children’s approach.”
Attend concerts together
There are many concerts designed with younger ages in mind including at our performance venue Bush Hall for workshops, concerts and shows. Enjoy these together! Put on a CD or download music at home, clear the decks and dance, sing, pretend to play along, and listen. Splash out on beautiful instruments to enjoy together (we offer specially curated baskets.) Create music for your favourite stories, compose songs, rhymes, or simply accompany a piece of music. Create a rock ‘n roll orchestra when everyone arrives home. Supper can wait!
Instrumental Appreciation lessons at Music House for Children
Children learn to play instruments in age appropriate, playful ways. Music House for Children offers appreciation lessons in piano, strings and percussion, taught through musical games, singing and notation. Every child has the chance to enjoy different and high quality resources. Through shared instrumental experiences your child can make an informed choice on an instrument when ready. Parents can observe open lessons that give the positive feedback that your child craves. Progressing to Group Violin lessons is the next step.
After a term of violin your child wants to play something else? Were violin lessons a total waste?! NO! Musical progressions are already embedded into learning experiences. Picking up a new instrument is a motor (physical) and aural adjustment, and one that will feed nicely into what has gone before. We had a 4 year old who wanted violin lessons. This changed to piano, then clarinet, and finally the saxophone. What about the cost? Hire or buy second hand until they are really, really committed.
In the meantime your home has a plethora of instruments – particularly in the kitchen! Saucepan lids, wooden spoons, paper, plastic boxes securely filled with pebbles (dried foods gives the wrong message and is wasteful). Table legs make great drums with chopsticks, washing machine sides and metal spoons; even a bunch of glued wine corks to make a ‘shhh’ sound when rubbed together, or tapped on the floor.
Good quality smaller instruments
Adjusted instruments such as a ¼ sized violin, flute with a curved head-joint, smaller piano, guitar and percussion kits are available for children to enjoy at home, and are relatively inexpensive. Find instrumental music for your child to listen and play along to. Join in – share in their experiences and ask simple questions about the sound and shape of the instrument.
Onwards and upwards with Music House for Children
Later instrumental learning captures all that was experienced in early childhood. By providing a sociable starting point you can help your child to share, celebrate and perform on their instrument, thus creating the full circle of the wondrous thing that music is.
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