As a child, I was often asked to sing before the guests who visited our homes. One of the reasons could be that when I was growing up, there weren’t many modes of entertainment. However I was asked to sing and my brother was asked to enact a certain ‘some people’ as he did that really well. Our father sang with us, very often most of the family members joining in a group chorus of sorts. The emphasis was usually on Rabindra Sangeet, Classical music or Bhajans… and while what I sang is not really the point of discussion, Music surely is.
Music has a big role to play in the lives of our little ones. Research says that music helps in building new pathways and creating new synaptic connections in the brain, thereby improving spatial understanding, refined motor skills and language skills. I hadn’t researched so much about it till I was in the family way. My folks at home told me to sing, while I was expecting and even after the baby was born. So while I know a lot of friends who did not quite make of what to do with an infant that only feeds, burps, sleeps and poops, I used to sing. Sing a lot. Well, no one was wrong.
My girl today at age three-plus somehow seems to remember songs that I used to sing to her as a baby, which I haven’t sung in sometime. She was quick in her speech development. Started saying words by the time she was a year and eight months. She is as I now observe, quick to pick up tunes, is able to pick up new words quite rapidly, remembers songs and is picking up varied languages… Russian for one :). She is no genius. She is fine. But I would like to attribute it to music because I felt there was a direct relation. In homes with mother and child where the mother hardly communicated with the little one and kept going about her chores, the children took a longer time to start talking.
Listening to good music can lead to the release of endorphins or feel-good brain chemicals that help to alleviate pain, fight infection and make a happier, healthier life. You could also find information on Mozart effect research where there were studies conducted to understand if listening to classical music or specifically Mozart, could help in developing spatial understanding and making people smarter. While the overall research itself is controversial, however the basis that music can help is surely true.
You do not have to be a singer to expose your child to music. You can play music that is soothing. Engage and encourage the child to learn and play instruments, familiar music can help comfort a child in an unknown and strange environment, listening and playing music together can help you bond better with your child.
Music instills a world-view in children and helps them develop a hobby that is lifelong, that is not just helpful to elevate the mind and body, but helps to create an environment of spirituality and oneness. Imperative for intelligence? That is your call totally… but no harm in having some music in all our lives.
Madhavi Mukherjee is an amused mother who still thinks and believes that while she sleeps at night, three year old tot is being trained by someone to learn new words, do new stuff, and to express better each day. She has been a practicing communications professional for over a decade. Madhavi is an aspiring singer, craft teacher, seamstress, painter and writer. Madhavi is getting used to her new designation as a Stay-At-Home-Mum and is enjoying every bit of the way. You can read more of Madhavi on kaarukriti.wordpress.com and ourmoina.wordpress.com