Best Products For Learning Music At Home
Parents can easily offer a skill-based music-learning program in the home with The Tuneables.
Giving your little one a quality early music learning experience can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be. The Tuneables was created so parents can easily offer a skill-based music learning program in the home. Developing a child’s musical ear or “the aural skills of music” is critical to setting a solid foundation of music understanding. In order to successfully learn these important skills, a child must have access to:
- Accurate modeling
- Sequence of instructions designed for physical and mental capabilities
- Repetitive experiences to master each skill
- Active and engaging programming
The Tuneables is a first-of-its-kind program that incorporates all of these elements and provides every child the opportunity to learn, understand and love music!
The Tuneables program was specifically designed to provide a quality, age-appropriate music learning experience that is accessible and easy to use for any parent and child. The Tuneables video and corresponding Music Box CD of songs provide a comprehensive music learning experience for your little one without any additional oversight. However, we believe that when a parent is involved, the experience is more enriching and rewarding for the child. Below are some suggested ways to use The Tuneables for maximum effect.
1. Allow your child to watch the video a couple of times straight through. There are many things that will capture your child’s interest so they might need to view a few times in order to “take it all in” before they are ready to join in the fun.
2. Watch the video with your child supporting the activities in the video. Show enthusiasm and participate!
3. Listen to the CD with your children and encourage them to sing a-long or move to the beat.
4. Pay attention to the learning activities in the video and look for ways to reinforce the skills throughout the day.
5. Repeat! Music learning is about practicing the skills over and over. This is a no guilt video…the more they watch and participate the more they are learning.
6. Utilize the Parent Guides to access additional resources for expanding the learning. It is an easy to follow overview of each song including the curriculum objective, lyrics to songs and special notes and suggested activities. Note: instructions to download parent guide on the inside cover of the packaging.
7. Have fun! Once you and your little become familiar with the curriculum, reinforce with games, make up your own songs, listen for tonal patterns in other music.
Many parents know that music education is great for children, but aren’t sure when and how to get started. The short answer to “when” is “now”: It’s never too late to instill an interest in music learning. That said, when beginning a child’s active development of musical skills: the sooner, the better. Preschool age is a great time to start because it’s a period of rapid growth in children’s brains. Such focused, active music learning can have very positive, long-term effects that are comparable to language learning. But for children to get these benefits, they need a program that goes beyond the informal and casual playtime music commonly targeted to preschoolers. Let’s talk about how to do this!
The Musical Ear
We often think music learning means reading sheet music or playing a musical instrument. However, there’s a fundamental step to take first. Children’s music skills develop best when they’re supported by a foundation of aural skills. We call this training “the musical ear”.
Choose music activities that develop the following skills:
• Accurate singing. Songs and exercises that improve the range and accuracy of children’s singing will also help them control their voices and breathing.
• Rhythm. Begin rhythmic learning with simple motions, like patting the lap with both hands or marching to the beat. Expand the learning with rhythm patterns and more complicated movements.
• Musical tones. Practice singing musical patterns (e.g., Do, Re, Mi). These patterns make up the vocabulary of music, much like words in a sentence.
• Musical playlist. Create musical playlists of musical compositions and songs that foster a solid understanding of the basic elements of music and introduce different cultural experiences. This also helps in learning such performance skills as singing and rhythmic movement.
The way children learn is as important as what children learn.
Young children’s learning styles and abilities must be considered when providing musical education. Here are some important strategies for parents to keep in mind.
1. Plan and sequence music learning experiences so that children will build understanding and confidence.
2. Encourage children to actively participate in the learning experience by moving, singing, and actively listening. Research shows that active participation in music learning is linked to brain development.
3. Provide capable models of musical performance to guide the learning. Children pick up musical skills through imitation. If the child’s model for singing is out of tune, the child will learn to sing out of tune.
4. Match musical models to the child’s physical abilities. Choose songs in the child’s ideal singing range, and keep rhythmic movements simple to assure success.
5. Give clear instructions that are easily understood by children (and adults).
6. Don’t rush it; repetition is an important part of the learning process. Try to make presentations interesting and fun so children will want to keep learning.
Most young learners already have an inherent love for and interest in music. Teaching them these building blocks of music early on sets the foundation for future music understanding and enjoyment. Music is a lifelong learning activity that engages so many senses, interconnects so many parts of the brain, and provides so much enjoyment. Nurture it; you’ll be glad you did!
- Music skills are developed from active participation and repetition. Create music learning opportunities every day.
- Children learn music skills through modeling. Make sure music models are correct. (ie Singing in Tune, Accurate Rhythms)
- If you are not the best model for music skills make sure to utilize good recordings, instruments and live performances to provide alternate sources for your little ones to follow.
- The first step in developing a foundation of music understanding is developing an ear for tonal and rhythm patterns. Since children first pick up on visual relationships, make sure not to let your little one “cheat” with color-coded instruments such as keyboards, bells or computer apps.
- Keep the singing key in a comfortable range for your child. Singing too high or too low makes it difficult for a child to accurately sing in tune.
- Choose movements easily made by your child when performing rhythm skills. Lap patting and marching are good places to start. Clapping is actually more difficult for children to keep a steady beat so should be considered an advanced movement.
- Hone a child’s listening skills by playing music and identifying particular elements in the song. For example, listening for the change in sections or for a particular instrument sound.
- Remember music is all ready a fun activity for your child. Providing focused activities that translates into successful performance opportunities will only enhance your child’s interest.
What is the best age to begin music lessons for my child?
Most people who want their children to learn music think of providing them with piano lessons. Because of the physical requirements for manipulating the keys and the size of the instrument, age six has become a typical age for beginners. However, parents should engage their children in music learning experiences during the child’s early years prior to learning to play an instrument. Researchers have shown children who have significant musical learning before age five sing better in tune, perform rhythms more accurately, and learn to play an instrument more quickly than those without it.
Significant musical learning occurs when young children engage in activities that encourage accurate rhythmic movement, singing in tune with good vocal models, focused listening to significant musical compositions, and conceptual understanding of the basic elements of rhythm and melody. These experiences provide the basic readiness for the serious study of an instrument. It is similar to a child’s learning to speak in one’s own language before going to Kindergarten.
How can I know whether my child has musical ability?
One can approach this question also by asking, “How can I know whether my child is verbal?” A child’s verbal ability is developed when they are spoken to and encouraged to respond. They learn the language of their home by hearing and speaking it all the time. Likewise, a child’s musical abilities are developed by listening to music and performing it. A child’s musical abilities can be further enhanced when they are engaged in a carefully sequenced program of instruction that develops age-appropriate performance and listening skills and basic concepts of music.
Fortunately, musical experiences are easily presented because young children seem to spontaneously respond to music when they hear it – especially rhythms. One cannot predict with any certainty that one’s child is a budding Mozart or Bernstein, but being musical to the extent that one can participate and enjoy music is worthwhile for anyone.
What can I do to help my child learn music?
Children learn music best when the child’s learning environment is filled with music and parents are an important part of this environment. Parents can do this in a number of ways, but here are five very useful approaches.
1. Select high quality recorded classical music to play frequently throughout the day. Music by Mozart and Haydn, for example, is appropriate.
2. Sing songs with your child. If you cannot sing in tune, recorded songs sung in the child’s vocal range are beneficial.
3. Engage your child in rhythmic games and activities where the child can focus on keeping an accurate and steady beat.
4. Take your child to children’s musical programs.
5. Engage your child in musical games with other children.
What if my child doesn’t want to participate in musical activities?
This is not uncommon. Many children are shy about performing, especially when they are very young and when the performance involves singing. Yet, musical experiences can be useful in overcoming shyness. Often, shy children will more readily participate with movement activities or by playing simple instruments, such as drums or bells.
Don’t interpret a lack of participation as a problem of interest or ability. Such children often “absorb” a great deal and learn by merely being in the presence of others who can demonstrate and perform music, especially other children. Certainly, the goal is to help the child develop performance skills and experience successful participation in music, and this will be realized given sufficient time and extended exposure to music.
What is the best age for my child to begin learning music?
Informal music learning experiences begin at birth. Some would even say in the womb. Learning involves forming neural pathways in the brain. These pathways form as a result of sensory input and are strengthened over time with repeated experiences. Early experiences are critical, because these structures are not as quickly formed after age five.
For the infant, such experiences involve a rich environment of sound that includes songs and other music in the background, especially classical music. Between ages two and three is a good time to engage children in more structured music learning, although this depends on the development of the individual child. Some parents may encourage such musical responses as singing and rhythmic movement throughout the day at home. Others may find appropriate audio and video materials useful. Still others may enroll their children in music classes. For the three-to five-year-old, these informal music experiences should be followed by a carefully sequenced curriculum of music instruction, such as that developed by the Music Intelligence Project.