When Your Child Starts Clapping

Contributed by Hannah Smith, Owner of Timbre Music, Center for Music Together LLC

Getting to watch the developmental growth of a young child or grandchild can be one of the most rewarding events in your life. We get to watch them experience the world with brand new eyes, and we find ourselves delighted to watch them, praising their every discovery.  

With the ability to watch a child’s growth, comes the desire to provide the best learning experiences for them. We expose them to new foods, new experiences and surroundings, put on TV shows that we would never be caught dead watching on our own and even put on different genres of music that we may not necessarily enjoy.  It is all for the exploration and growth of our young child.  

But what happens when they get to the age that they need more stimulation than we feel we can give as parents or caregivers. We find alternate ways of providing that stimulation of new experiences with our children. When we feel like we have two left feet and don’t sing, we leave it to the expert to provide the musical growth or we put on a CD for the auditory experience. And while there is benefit to this, there is evidence that adults can still acquire a basic music competence along with their child.  

When we take delight in our child’s new-found ability to clap their hands, we clap our hands with them. When they learn to jump or wave hello or goodbye, we mirror their actions even if we feel utterly ridiculous. But when they start to sing or have more vocal inflection, we are baffled.  I’ve had parents tell me they can’t sing, therefore they don’t. But it is so necessary for a child’s musical competence to hear the adults in their lives sing! 

“Because the model of a caring adult who makes music creates the disposition in the child to imitate and explore with music making, it is much more important that they (the adult) do it than they do it well! Many can identify with the notion that you don’t have to be a professional “pitcher” to have a catch with a young child.” (Lili M. Levinowitz, Ph.D. ¬Facilitating Early Childhood Professionals to Model Music and Movement Leading---When They Think They Can’t Sing and Have Two Left Feet!)

Often we need a little push or a non-judgmental, non-performance based setting to let our children explore music making and allow ourselves the experience of using a voice that may have been previously dormant. We need a fun, creative and community driven space to explore beats and rhythms, and a loving space that we are free to connect with our child on a musical level.  

Clap your hands with your child, drum on pots and pans, make up your own silly songs, but most importantly sing to your child!

Music Together classes are a 45 minute music and movement experience for babies to age 5 and their grownup. Music is provided for in the car and at home and a community of parents come together to sing, dance and generally be silly with their little ones. Free trial classes and demos to the community are provided regularly. More information can be found at timbremusicstudio.com or by calling 907-231-7606.