Music is something children love from an early age. From the mother’s heartbeat in the womb, to their own breathing patterns, children seem to have a natural sense of rhythm. Studies show that music has a lot of influence on the developing brain and is significant in a child’s development. Children who are exposed to music have found to have better language skills, fine motor skills, and even better basic memory recall. Learning to read and play music offers even more mental and physical benefits. 

In our classroom, we expose the children to music and music play all day long in an active way.  In the beginning of the day, we start with classical music because its calming and as the day and activity level increases we move to music with a stronger beat. Brass music is a favorite of toddlers. The Semper Fidelis March is a good way for the children to march to the beat of the music. We also use the song Baby Shark to allow them opportunities to play with rhythm through the movements.  The Flight of The Bumble Bee is another way we get the children moving to the rhythm of the music. They flap their wings rapidly to the music. We use familiar nursery rhymes like Itsy Bitsy Spider to teach rhythm. Children can tap out the rhythm with a hand drum, maracas, or by just clapping their hands. A traditional polka is another fun way get the children dancing to the rhythm of the music. 

By providing children with a rich musical playground early makes for a good foundation for instrumental learning. The Royal Academy of Music recommends gradually introducing young children to the idea of instruments by listening to music and trying to identify the instrument and also going to an orchestra family concert . Locally, we have Fiddlesticks with the Pittsburgh Symphony. 

The Greater Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute uses a teaching method that resembles the process a child goes through in learning to speak. They begin by listening to the music that they will eventually play. By walking with children through this journey and letting them enjoy rich musical experiences through rhythm they will have a good foundation to lead this journey of discovery.

A good book for reference is The Right Instrument for your Child by Atarah Ben Tovin. This is a great step by step guide toward choosing a musical instrument to suite the temperament and skills of your child. In the meantime, get out the pots and pans and enjoy banging out the rhythm of some favorite songs and nursery rhythms.