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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

"A Musical Beginning – Early Childhood"

Children are born with the ability to make music. Did you know that the process of music development parallels the process of language development? Language development starts when a child is born. You enthusiastically speak to your child in full sentences from the moment you lay eyes on her (and sometimes even earlier). Although you do not receive a response you persist in friendly conversation and sweet babbling sounds. You are exposing your child to the language of her culture.

Children learn language through listening to the adults around them and experimenting with their own vocalizations. A baby’s ear becomes attuned to environmental rhythms and speech patterns that enable her to effortlessly learn language syntax.

Like language, music development also begins with a babble stage, a period of experimenting with all the possible combinations of vocal sounds. The chirps, squeals, and even raspberries that your child creates are all part of this necessary stage. With repeated experience and exposure to music, children acquire the language of music.

The opportune time to expose your child to music is right at birth when musical intelligence is at its’ peak. Just as you speak to your child, sing to your child. Your voice is the most important sound to your baby. The opportunity to joyfully explore and play with music at an early age helps children to develop basic music competence—the ability to keep accurate beat and sing in tune. This is extremely important because it sets the stage for the rest of a child’s musical endeavors.

The best way you can help your child’s musical ability to blossom is to sing and dance together on a daily basis. Nursery rhymes provide a silly way to play with rhythm. As your child grows, play basic instruments like egg shakers, triangles and drums. Take out your pots and pans. Don’t just listen to music, become actively involved. Enjoy a relaxed moment each day with your child playing with music. Begin a treasured tradition of singing lullabies at bedtime. Regardless of musical talent, when the important adults surrounding your child are excited about making music, your child will surely catch the joy!

An early childhood music program can assist you in becoming your child’s musical partner. An informal classroom setting that allows you and your child to explore, discover and create musical play together will help you lay a strong musical foundation for your child that will last a lifetime.

Not all of our children will become music virtuosos. By providing an early exposure to music, coupled with encouragement to sing and move to music on a daily basis will give your child the necessary skills to successfully participate in music for pleasure, in later formal music instruction, or in professional musical pursuits.

Barbara Lysenko has been a music educator for 28 years. She is the director and co-founder of Kids’ MusicRound®, an early childhood parent/child music and movement program specially created for children, ages birth-four. Classes are located in Pennington, Montgomery, South Brunswick, Plainsboro, West Windsor and Robbinsville. Call 609.333.0100 for information or visit our website at

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