Back to school season is all about fresh starts and what better way to start the day fresh than with some classical music for you and your preschool child? In our house, the day is framed by classical and jazz. We open with classical music at breakfast and close with jazz at dinner. It is such a nice way to mark these moments of time and to set an expectation for our kids that music will always be part of the day. If you’re new to using classical music for preschool – no worries! Beginning the habit of listening to classical each day is as easy as pie.
The only key piece of information you need to know to bring classical into your preschooler’s life is an awareness of what specifically you expect classical music to do for your child’s mind and spirit. So! Here is a quick guide to help you answer that question.
The Value of Classical Music for Preschool Years
Listening to the greatest composers of our time exposes children to the classical origins of music that have influenced musical trends over the course of history. A strong grounding in classical music gives a child a foundation from which to grow a long-term love affair with music of all kinds. By listening to classical music with children we can promote both the general skill of listening and focusing using the ears instead of the eyes and also the specific auditory skills required to recognize musical nuances such as rhythm, tone, tempo and volume. Movement to music allows a child to interpret music creatively and express that interpretation with their bodies. The gross motor skills that this develops are beautifully connected to the classical piece and allow a productive outlet for pent-up energies a child may need to express.
Using Classical to Calm the Mind
There are two specific ways to integrate classical music into your child’s day and the method you select will depend on the kind of behavioural and emotional outcome you want to encourage for both you and your child. So, in my case, I will often use classical to help calm my children when they are clearly in need of a moment to just disconnect and relax. You know what that moment looks like. The kids are so beyond over stimulation they appear to have lost almost all control of their limbs. Mine will bump into furniture and doors and begin laughing at the most inane things. This is when I know it’s time to put on the kind of classical music that will bring a moment of serenity. During this time, I love to put out crayons and just let my preschooler colour whatever the music brings to mind and paper. Here is Chopin’s Berceuse as only one example of classical music that succeeds in calming the mind.
Using Classical to Enliven the Spirit
The other way we use classical music in our home is to enliven the spirit. What does this mean? Well, often I could light a fire under my children’s behinds and they would still take a million years to find their shoes. I’ve tried yelling, I’ve tried stickers, I’ve tried everything but the only thing that seems to really work is to throw on some classical music that I know will encourage my child to drop the sluggish attitude and get moving! Sometimes, a lack of enthusiasm will follow a too long period of watching T.V. or being on the iPad and this is when a song like the “Can Can” by Offenbach can be used to wonderful effect! Try it today!
There we have it! It is absolutely not too late to integrate classical music into your daily life with your preschooler. Classical music has long served to calm and bring moments of peace into the lives of adults – as well as to the children in their care – who may be experiencing emotions of frustration, anger, or sadness occasionally throughout the busy day. I think you deserve to pour some tea and listen to a little right now, don’t you?
Rebecca Overall is the creator of Artsy Startsy and the ROAM curricula – helpful, informative curricula that enhance the time you spend with little ones. She believes that every preschooler is a little Reader, Observer, Artist and Musician! She has a great love of the liberal arts and books which led her to pursue degrees in languages, literature, education and library science. In her past life, she worked as both a teacher and health sciences librarian.When she decided to stay home to raise her children, she discovered that she had a unique opportunity to pursue her love of the liberal arts again as well as a chance to spend more time exploring the outdoors with her little ones! Take a peek at her free sample week to see if Artsy Startsy is right for you and your preschooler!