The Tuneables is an award-winning children's music education DVD and CD series designed to teach the key building blocks of music at a critical time in a child's development.  Sponsored by the Music Intelligence Project, this fun, interactive program engages children in songs and activities that provide a foundation of music understanding and growth in intellectual development. Ages 3-8.

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To help prepare your child for active music instruction and learning, play recordings of music by Mozart and others as a background for other activities and rest time when the child is very young.

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Let's Start at the Very Beginning: Early Exposure to Music the Playlist

Very young children (ages 0-3) benefit most from music learning experiences when they have had a rich exposure to music in the home starting at birth.  Such exposure gives young children a personal repertoire of songs and instrumental compositions that become part of the cultural fabric of their everyday lives. Let's call it their "playlist". This is their readiness for learning music in a music education program, such as The Tuneables.

Why have a personal "playlist"?

A young child's personal "playlist" (repertoire) provides a cultural background of experiences, or musical context, for understanding the basic elements of music (e.g., tonal and rhythm patterns and expressive effects). It also helps in learning such performance skills as singing and rhythmic movement. This is similar to language learning. Language learning occurs because of the verbal context provided by learning a number of words, phrases, stories, and poems. Children of families that use larger vocabularies develop better language skills. With both music and language, the richer the context the richer the learning.

What's on the "playlist"?

Very young children should be exposed to a large number of children's songs and classic musical compositions. Include songs that stand the test of time and are generally known. Examples might include "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" (same tune as the "ABC Song"), and "London Bridge is Falling Down." Examples from classical music include "Eine Keine Nacht Musik" (Mozart) and "The Clock Symphony, 2nd mvt. (Haydn).  (See blog: The Child's Personal Music Repertoire-"Playlist" for extended list of recommendations.)

When should the "playlist" be developed?

Start developing a young child's "play list" from the very beginning-from birth.  Children, by the age of three, should know and love a number of songs and musical composition (20 or more).  Children "know" a piece of music when they recognize it or perform it from recall. They "love" a piece of music when they want to sing it, play it, or listen to it repeatedly. 

How do very young children get to know their "playlist"?

Introduce the "play list" to children through listening experiences.  These would include parents' and others' singing to and with the children, engaging in singing games, and playing recorded music. Frequent repetition of these activities is important. However, be sure to provide accurate models when developing the "playlist" for singing. [See blog: Children Learn Music by Imitating a Good Model].

What is the parent's role?

The role of the parent is extremely important in developing a child's "playlist"-the all-important context for music learning. The keys are:

  • Start at the very beginning (at birth).
  • Choose appropriate music.
  • Provide good models and recordings.
  • Provide frequent opportunities for listening.

Getting off to a good start is important for most things in life. This is especially true for music learning!

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 6 October 2011

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