My first son was born at the end of last year and as a first time Mom I’m learning first hand how a child grows and develops. Of course I’ve studied child development in my education, worked with children of all ages throughout my life, and specialize in working with children. However, watching the daily growth of your own child is so fascinating. Because I’m with him 24/7 I can see all the little things he does, notice when he’s thinking hard, when he’s learning something, when he’s discovering something, and when he’s successfully accomplished a task. Its amazing and so fun to watch!
As a musician, music educator and music therapist, naturally I have used music in our daily life, in most of my interactions with my son. I know first hand the power of music and have harnessed that power to benefit my child’s learning.
Before he was born I created a playlist of music which I used to relax during pregnancy, and later used during my labor and delivery. It was the first music my child heard when he was born and it was familiar to him as he had heard it in the womb. Interestingly a lot of it was Christmas music because he was born the week of Christmas, and I’m sure that Christmas music will always be meaningful to him as it is to me.
I created a playlist of music that I play for him at bedtime. Using the idea of the isoprinciple I selected songs that are at about 120 beats per minute followed by songs that are increasingly slower, to about 40 beats per minute. This playlist helps him to relax and slow down for sleep.
During the day we have a song for everything! We have a song for saying Good Morning, a prayer that we sing before we eat, several songs for interaction during diaper changes, a song for peek-a-boo, and songs for the bath tub: washing, rinsing, bath toys, end of bath time, and drying off. We also sing the traditional children’s songs throughout the day which have proven a great way to grab his attention, re-engage him when he’s irritable or bored, or calm him when he’s upset.
Lullabies, not surprisingly, work wonders for my son when he is upset or needs help calming. From the beginning I’ve noticed his preference to Brahm’s Lullaby so its my go-to lullaby. He can go from crying to calm within the first few notes of the song. Sometimes I sing it, sometimes I just hum it. It really depends where we are. If we are out if public I may just hum it, but if we are alone I may sing. Sometimes just a verse is enough, sometimes he needs several verses.
Music has been a great asset in this first year of life and I’m sure it will continue to be beneficial throughout his life. I have instilled in him a love of music from an early age. I’m already seeing how attuned to music he is and know that he will not only get much pleasure from music but will also be able to harness the power of music in his life.
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