I took my first piano lesson at age five and never lost that young love for music. Wanting to pass that on to my daughter, I was curious how to get her started with baby music lessons.
Ends up there are multiple options out there for infant and toddler music classes. And interactive music classes in particular, where the parents and children learn music and play instruments together, seem to have significant cognitive effects. Recent research from the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind found that babies who participated in these types of classes were more aware of pitch. Even more surprising, “…babies from the interactive classes (Suzuki baby/toddler classes) showed better early communication skills, they smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress with unfamiliar things.” Considering these significant effects on babies, the classes are relatively inexpensive and take place in a fun group environment with several parents and children.
You can teach your baby music at home too!
If for any reason you and your child aren’t able to attend music school, you can do it at home too. Google nursery rhymes and baby songs and repeat them to your children throughout the day as you feed them, change them, take walks with them and bathe them.
You’d be amazed at how well kitchen utensils can act as instruments too. We use a soup pot and a wooden spoon to drum along to our favorite songs. At first all my daughter did was put the spoon in her mouth. As much as I wanted to pull it out and hold her hand to drum, our music teacher from Music Together taught us that babies learn and explore most by putting things in their mouths. We should let them to do this as they watch us parents drum along. By allowing them this freedom to observe and mimic (and slobber over everything) we are teaching them autonomy. Now at 9-months my daughter bangs away to the music.
You are your children’s biggest influence so it’s important that you sing and dance along with them. Go onto Youtube and find your favorite song – when you play it for them you can sing the words and pick them up and dance. “There are many ways that parents can connect with their babies,” says McMaster Institute study coordinator Andrea Unrau. “The great thing about music is, everyone loves it and everyone can learn simple interactive musical games together.”
Music schools that provide research based interactive infant and toddler classes include Suzuki School of Music and Music Together. Use these websites to find a school near you: