Once, long ago it seems now, I used to get into my car, open the glove box, pull out a CD – it didn’t matter which, they were all great – and then head off down the road cool as you like, sunglasses on and an amazing song blasting away on the stereo. When I got into the car this morning to do the school run, however, things were rather different. Switching on the stereo as I drove away, instead of Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’ (a total classic for anyone who has never heard it!), I was greeted by the ‘Let’s Build a Snowman’ song from Frozen. My daughter, delighted at this turn of events, sang her heart out in the back seat, whilst I subtly turned down the volume so that passers-by wouldn’t hear it when we stopped at the next junction.
Like many children, my daughter has always loved music. I guess that there is just something innate in us human beings that responds to the sounds and rhythms. Mothers sing to their babies, often when they’re still in the womb, we chant simple nursery rhymes and clap hands to entertain our little ones, and sing lullabies to help them to get off to sleep at bedtime. Many studies suggest that music can have a positive effect on the development of young children, and music is also thought by some to be implicated in the learning of a child’s native language. So perhaps it’s not surprising that many children take so readily to singing, dancing and bashing at musical instruments.
As keen (amateur!) musicians ourselves, my wife and I hoped that our kids would have an interest in music because we know the pleasure that there is to be had from it. So when our first came along, we took him to toddler music groups, paid for lessons as he got older (there’s nothing quite like the sound of a seven year old scraping his way through ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ on a violin, in fact I doubt that the words to describe it actually exist), even took him to concerts. So what was the result of all of this? Well, our son is pretty nonplussed by it all, really. He likes music in a take-it-or-leave-it kind of way, but there’s no passion for him. And that’s ok, of course, he has other things that float his boat.
With our daughter we were much less pushy, partly because you never have as much time with your second as you did with your first, and partly because our efforts with our son had been to little avail. And the result? Well of course, she’s music obsessed - just can’t get enough, as the song says. She sings constantly, creates dance routines and gathers audiences (our unfortunate guests, usually) to watch them, and comes racing through any time I pick up a guitar to ‘join in’. I’ve promised to teach her how to play the ukulele, and she asks me almost daily when we’re going to start! Now if only I can get her to be just be little more discriminating about her choice of music … oh, ok if I’m honest, I secretly quite like the ‘Let’s Build a Snowman’ song –just don’t tell anyone, OK?
Do you have any musical tales to tell about your little ones? We’d love to hear them, so please feel free add your comments! And if you have any musical videos of your child, upload them to our Facebook page and you will be entered in a price draw to win a £30 gift voucher for www.slumbersac.co.uk.