Improve skills in sound discrimination by playing music to young children
Educators and parents are easily able to provide activities that will improve prediction of auditory patterns in their preschool children making them better communicators and ultimately better readers and writers.
A recent study from Finland investigated whether the amount of musical group activities is reflected in the maturation of neural sound discrimination from toddler to preschool-age.
The researchers say their study
‘provides first longitudinal evidence that even quite informal musical group activities facilitate the development of neural sound discrimination during early childhood.’
The researchers also say,
‘The current results …[suggest] that the ‘musician’ advantage in the maturation of neural sound discrimination can arise already during preschool-age and does not require formal training on a musical instrument.’
Informal Musical Group Activities
Here’s a selection of informal musical group activities designed to improve prediction of auditory patterns, an important outcome of neural sound discrimination.
- listening to lots of different sounds and music from many different countries and cultures
- moving and dancing in time with music and mimicking each other
- singing and making sounds with the voice and the body
- playing with sound-makers including safe, fascinating, real and electronic musical instruments
- improvising and playing with sound, with and without background music playing
Educators can also
- support babies, toddlers and preschoolers to express their musical preferences, by playing them more of what they like and letting them operate music players
- provide quiet time for inner hearing
- recognise when children’s feelings are aroused by music
- use music to calm and soothe
- support children to use music in their play
Additionally, children around four-years-old can compose and record their own creations using symbol systems — either their own or musical notation they have learnt from a musician or by themselves. They can also use recording technologies instead of graphic notation, like most contemporary musicians.
Educators can support children with high interest in music and dance to put on ‘shows’ and performances for family and friends without adult pressure. Educators can also support children to make digital multimedia works that include original sound recordings. These digital artworks can be shared with families just as paintings on paper are sent home to show the child’s capabilities.
Putkinen, Vesa & Tervaniemi, Mari & Huotilainen, Minna. (2019). Musical playschool activities are linked to faster auditory development during preschool-age: a longitudinal ERP study. Scientific Reports. 9. 10.1038/s41598-019-47467-z.