According to the experts, "families should immerse their children as early as possible in a music-rich environment. Jackie Freimor, Director of Scarsdale's Over the Moon Music and More, has provided this list of ten reasons why children should be immersed in music as early as possible based on the latest research.
For one, all children are musical, meaning they are born with the potential, or aptitude, to learn to participate in the music of their culture. All children can achieve basic music competence—the ability to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm. Children are "wired" to achieve basic music competence by the age of about 3 years. However, by the time they enter kindergarten, approximately 50% of American children cannot tell the difference between their singing voice and their speaking voice, and many of them cannot walk to the beat or perform simple motor patterns. How can this be? For the most part, it's because although music aptitude is inborn, music learning is determined by environmental factors. These environmental factors include parental modeling, which, as in all aspects of child development, is essential.
Also important is immersion in a musically rich, non-performance oriented environment, in which children feel free to play and experiment. Because children teach themselves through play and experimentation, parents and other caregivers do not have to have good music skills themselves in order to model them for their children. All they need to do is to engage in enthusiastic musical play with their children; the children will take it from there.
Parents should be patient with and nonjudgmental about their children's musical experimentation, as musical development occurs in stages, over time. For example, parents need to know that children "babble" musically, much in the way they "babble" linguistically, in the process of acquiring the musical skills they need. Singing in tune is a complex acquired skill that requires the ability to audiate—that is, to "hear" music in one's head—before being able to replicate the sounds vocally.
Making music is as basic a life skill as walking and talking, as music is one of the multiple intelligences through which children know the world and are able to express themselves in it. Although music learning is a human birthright and is desirable for its own sake, research has shown that music learning supports all aspects of children's cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social emotional development.
According to Jackie, "You don't have to take a music class to support your child's musical development." But as our culture grows increasingly focused on the consumption of music instead of the production of it, more and more parents are confessing that they're insecure about their ability to foster their children's musicality.
That's why Jackie and Over the Moon Music and More are offering the Music Together Program. They are "passionate about bringing children and their caregivers closer through shared music making and helping people discover the joy and educational value of early music experiences."