Music is a key part of all cultures from telling stories, uplifting the soul and playing a leading role in our celebrations. How many times have you felt your foot start to tap to the beat of a great piece of music.
There also seems to be a general agreement across lots of in depth research that music plays a key role in the development of children. Even as far back as Aristotle who said "music has a power of forming the character and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young".
No age is too young to start with nursery rhymes and their repetition being especially important for under 5's. Music can help to develop a whole host of benefits from speech development to spatial awareness.
Don't worry, it's not going to cost you an arm and a leg and there are lots of things you can do for free. Here are a few suggestions from free of charge to a little more dosh.
Singing The simplest thing you can do is start singing with your child. If you're like me and you're completely out of tune, it really doesn't matter. My son used to smile so much and clap his hands when I sang to him. I even started to convince myself that perhaps I would be good enough for X Factor. Now that he's a little older he's happy to tell me to stop and let him sing alone. Nursery rhymes are great as they have tried and tested beats and repetition. You don't have to set aside a specific time to sing and can easily incorporate it into your daily routine. My husband always sings a made up bath time song and it quickly became part of our son's bed and bath time routine.
If you do a Google search in your area you're bound to come across lots of different music classes. These are a great way to bring music into your child's life and make it a social experience too. If you're not sure about the class, you could always ask to come for a one off try before committing to a term. In the UK there are also lots of Children or Sure Start Centres which have Stay and Play sessions. These often incorporate some singing and are usually free or very low cost. Libraries are also another good place to look out for rhyme time.
Alternatively, why not get together with some other mummy friends and have a joint sing along together. You could always have a sing a long CD playing in the background if you're a little shy.
A bit of dancing with the singing is also great fun and if you join in a good way to keep fit.
A few saucepans and wooden spoons can make some great temporary drums. An empty toilet roll tube makes a fun trumpet and don't forget the good old hair brush for a microphone. If you keep an eye out in the charity shops you can often pick up some cheap musical instruments for children too or ask for them as Christmas or birthday presents.
A good look through the Weekendnotes website and you're bound to come across some musical shows especially for children. These shows or even pantomimes are a great way to introduce your children to the theatre, music, costumes and fun. They are also a lovely treat too.