Scientists may argue about the evolutionary basis for music, but it undoubtedly has a magical effect on children.
Bashing the keys of a piano or shaking a tambourine, children quickly pick up the basics of melody and rhythm. Learning to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is an hour’s work for a motivated five-year-old.
But music isn’t only about making great sounds. The musical processing system shares much with that of speech and language. Musical experiences which enhance that processing therefore enhance the processing of language, which in turn impacts on learning to read. Children who engage with music and sound come to reading and language-learning far better equipped.
An electronic keyboard is fine, but offering a metal glocksenspiel or wooden xylophone, for example, enables your child to explore the way the sound resonates in more depth. It also gives them the idea that everyday materials can make music sounds.
And don’t forget to listen to music, too. As well as learning from the greats, it’s also a great way to lift the mood on a rainy day.