Music is a powerful developmental tool, in part becasue it involves all of our senses.
The cartoom brain shown here illustrates that all sensory areas of the brain communicate with the auditory area (hearing, in blue) .
Multisensory areas, such as the pre-frontal cortex (cognition), motor cortex (movement), and complex auditory cortex are shown in gray and contain small boxes colored to show the senses they interact with. Strong connections to and from auditory and visual areas are considered to be two-way highways, because sensory information is shared between brain areas in both directions (dashed orange lines). Somatosensory (touch) areas are shown in green and also have two-way connections that share information. Adapted from Musacchia and Schoreder, 2010.
Perhaps most importantly, a wealth of research shows that music training can have profound benefits for learning and developing language and reading skills. Positive musical experiences for infants, toddlers and preschoolers can foster and early love for music and begin them on a positive, enriched learning pathway.
Our approach is to translate research findings to real-world music applications for early learners. The goal is to use these methods to foster a love for music, boost auditory awareness, and help each baby strengthen foundations for early learning.
In a circle, the babies and toddlers can see all of their playmates and caregivers easily and can find commonality and variance in how we are playing music. This is fun for everyone. Many traditional cultures use the “drum circle” to bond socially, tell stories and transfer important messages. Because the complex rhythms that non-western cultures use stimulate our brains in powerful ways, we use these to show different forms of expression and timing. The Circle is a powerful tool to help babies learn “what grown-ups do” with these new sounds and how we can work and play together.
Almost all of our activities encourage music play by using “interactive triangle” in which the three sides of the triangle are 1) you, 2) your baby and 3) an object. The interactive triangle, also called “joint attention” facilitates quick learning and is often cited as one of the most powerful forms early learning. In the Baby Rhythms classes, we lead by example, using the attention triangle to teach the little ones to play with the instruments use them in rhythm with the music.
Baby Rhythms’ classes number one priority is to foster development and growth in your child. We do this by creating a safe and fun space for music exploration and integrating the principles of cutting edge research into the program. A wealth of research has shown that repeated early music experience fosters brain development and can have a long-lasting positive impact on social interaction, language ability and hearing in some cases even into old age. The line of development may not always be a straight one from point A to B, but by encouraging a love for music early, you give your child a “leg-up” and the opportunity for an avenue of expression to follow it with.
Baby Rhythm music program for infants, toddlers and young children designed to awaken perception of world rhythms and boost early communication skills. Research shows that playing music improves brain function from an early age and strengthens skills that are important for learning. Music is not only fun for children of all ages, but has brain benefits that can last a lifetime.
The program consists of three development-based classes. Little Listeners class is for infants ages 4-10 months and focuses on exploration and group experience. Big Players is for toddlers ages 18-24 months and focuses on co-ordinated dance and more advanced rhythm skills. In the final age group of 2-4 years, Music Makers gain experience with real instruments, turn taking in a mock "band practice" and alternating hand drumming. All classes include learning to play musical bells, rattles, shakers, and for the older children, exposure to the violin, guitar, and wind instruments. Some sample activities include:
~Bouncing to complex rhythms
~Hand drumming with alternating hand motions
~Dancing with scarves and ribbons
~Walking, hopping, and coordinated group dance
~"Band Practice" with guitars, violins and flutes (Big Players and Music Maker classes only)
Our music is fun for the adults to listen to as well, and includes Balinese Gamelan music, African rhythms, Bulgarian and Caribbean songs (see Our Story for more information). Many of these songs involve complex, nested rhythms such as 7/8 time meter, that stimulate complex brain activity.