The responses of my children to music and sound can often make me stop what I’m doing and observe in pure fascination. My youngest daughter is still just short of nine months old, yet she loves the sounds of upbeat music, becoming animated in response, waving her arms and shuffling her body. When she hears classical music which we play in the car, or soothing music played in the church we attend, she relaxes instantly, her eyes meditatively staring for a while before she succumbs to sleep.
As the photo above demonstrates, my elder daughter, affectionately known as two-going-on-three-year-old, recently visited her very musical Uncle and enjoyed practicing some eagerly anticipated guitar and drum playing.
This kept her studiously occupied for three quarters of an hour.
This is is quite something for two-going-on-three year old, as most parents or care-givers of young children will surely understand. Any previous prolonged stretches of concentration have been due to getting the CRAFT BOX out, an event which requires capitalisation due to ITS awesome power of destroying my lounge.
Bedtime reading is nearly as good, yet even this is interspersed with frequent commentary (“But why is Superworm pink?”, “Where is his bottom?”).
Crafts and reading activities hold her attention for ten to fifteen minutes. Not forty-five.
Recently, I read an article on the developing brain’s perception of time. The article explains that, for very young children, time is specifically related to each action throughout their day. Their awareness of time passing increases as they grow older.
It struck me, in reading this, that the forty-five minute musical interlude mentioned above made time stop for a while for two-going-on-three-year-old. She was completely engrossed in that moment – a moment that lasted forty-five minutes.
I then wanted to read more, of course, and there’s a great deal of information and research out there on music and childhood development, music and meditative effects, music and self- discipline and learning, music for healing and general well being, or just pure enjoyment.
It’s something we’ll be encouraging. Luckily, my partner’s family is musical. Oh good – I don’t have to get my recorder out, the only instrument I ever learned to play.