Music Readiness Activities for the Young Child

If music study is something you want for your child, you can prepare for that first lesson. No, you don't have to read aloud from a music dictionary before he is born, but there are some activities you can begin at a very young age.

Very Early Activities

These would be from birth to about 1.5 years.

Play music for your child. Let him hear it in the home and in the car. Make it good music: classical music and fine jazz. I'd advise you to eliminate Top 40, rap, and other kinds of pop music; he'll get plenty of that in the general culture so he's a well-rounded listener. What he *won't* get is the good stuff. Make sure you provide that at home. No matter how far afield he might go in his teen years, in the end he'll come back to good music as an adult.

Encourage your child to move to music. Before he's ambulatory, hold him and both of you walk or sway rhythmically to music. Later, the two of you can dance to what you're hearing. Having the child create his own interpretation in dance fosters creativity and tells him that being artistic is a good and safe thing to do.

Family Activities

The first thing you need to do is bring an active awareness of music to your young child, starting at about age 2.

Specific Music-Readiness Activities

Aural Memory

Visual Memory

These "games" are things that either parent can do with the child. Often one parent is more knowledgeable about music than the other, so these games are a perfect opportunity for the non-musical parent to share music readiness with the child.

The Beginnings of Reading Music Notation

You already have begun this with your alphabet and number activities. Expand on it: Making these readiness activities into games sets the stage for your child's music study as a family undertaking and as a pleasurable pursuit. Your child will always thank you for making music study available to him.

copyright 1996-2004, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
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