Music is a powerful tool. Teachers like using music as a teaching tool because music activities are adaptable to many situations. Children love music activities because they are fun. Even children under the age of one can enjoy a variety of music-based activities.
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Many people feel self-conscious when singing to a newborn or an older infant. Infants enjoy hearing any human voice, regardless of the voice quality. Younger babies benefit from songs that can be invented on the spot. Singing songs about daily activities, such as bathing or dressing, is soothing to babies and teaches language at the same time. As a newborn grows, he may prefer songs with rhythm. Sing classic nursery rhymes such as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "Hickory Dickory Dock." These rhymes are fun for older siblings as well. An infant may join in the singing by cooing and giggling. As the infant grows he may begin to make repetitive sounds and imitate the words to the songs.
Recorded music is a great way to introduce a variety of music to an infant. Even the smallest infant can listen to music while resting, eating or playing. Parents and older siblings typically acquaint an infant to popular music in the course of daily life. Choose to consciously expose an infant to a variety of music. Children's tunes may be used while the baby is alert and watching his environment; soothing lullabies work well for periods the baby is resting; and classical music can introduce an infant to a variety of tempos and melodies. Experiment to see what types of music sooth or stimulate the infant. As an infant gets older, coordinate play time with upbeat songs that encourage activity. Keep the volume moderate to avoid upsetting the infant now and prevent hearing loss in the future.
Introduce musical toys as an infant gains control of his hands and feet. At first, simple rattles will be challenging. Allow an infant to experiment with rhythm and volume. Older infants can use a variety of store-bought toys, including electronic toys that play music. Do not rely strictly on commercial toys; handmade toys are just as useful. Fill plastic soda bottles with rice or beans to create shakers. Spoons and pans double as drums. Infants approaching one year of age become creative and may use any toy as a musical instrument by banging it on another object.
An infant may not be able to play a musical instrument, but that doesn't mean he won't enjoy seeing and hearing someone else play. If a family member or friend plays an instrument, allow an infant to watch and listen. Take the newborn to outdoor concerts when appropriate. Older babies may enjoy blowing horns and strumming guitars. Infants enjoy listening to music almost as much as making music.
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