LIFESTYLE | FAMILY

When music speaks, a child listens

Tina Bangel

It’s never too early for a child to start learning or appreciating music. Tina Bangel shares 10 ways to make music a part of everyday family life.

My four- year old boy hands me his palm so I can teach him to sing a traditional Filipino nursery rhyme that is very similar to “Round and round the garden.”  I had introduced it to him when he was one month of age.

Even at this age the anticipation of the tickle always brings a big smile to our faces.  The big old tickle giggle never disappoints!  That night he asked his Lola (Grandma in Tagalog) to teach him the song.  Experiences such as these melt my heart.

“I remember your Lola’s dad singing it to me when I was your age.”  I tell Christian.   Then I reminisce my childhood memories with him.  Which led to questions like “Where is Lola’s dad now? “ and “What does heaven look like?”

All these thoughts, feelings, emotions, analysis, disciplined think and attending all from a simple song.  Even at this young age a song can touch our deepest emotion and extend a range of feeling.

From this simple song we share a bond, a sense of community.

Not only does it help emotionally, cognitively but also physically.  As he circles his pointer finger on my palm he is developing his fine motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and at the same time he is learning patterns in language.

Many people ask me “When is a good time for my child to learn music?”

I always say that even while your child is in the womb and from birth surround yourself and your baby with music.

Hans Christian Andersen sums it all up “Where words fail, music speaks.”

Tap and rock your baby to the steady beat so they learn to internalize it within their bodies.  This will in turn help with the ability to walk, bounce balls, cut with scissors.

Here are some ways to help integrate music into your child’s life.

  • Join a structured musical learning class with your child
  • Listen to a variety of quality recorded music at home and while running errands in the car
  • Sing familiar songs or make up your own songs while you play or when working around the house.
  • Take time to listen to all the interesting sounds in your environment – imitate nature sounds while out for a walk.
  • Explore sounds with homemade instruments like pots and pans, spoons, and shakers
  • Create family music making opportunities in which everyone plays along.  Include all your talents from playing the spoons to folk instruments to gathering around the piano.
  • Dance to music from the radio, television, or any other source you enjoy.
  • Use simple props such as scarves, balls and hoops to play movement games.  Add a favourite song.
  • Make music part of your child’s bedtime routine or any routine (bathing, cooking, cleaning) – lullabies are particularly
  • Soothing and calming and provide a time for parent and child bonding.

The bottom line is music and dance – within a fun, loving and nurturing environment – can bring a life long happiness and warm memories in your child’s life.  It's a wonderful start to life.

Captions on images:

Christian listening to his ipod with a collection of his favourite songs, from Baby by Justin Bieber to one of his more obscure favourites, ‘The composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket’. He only listens to this during the day so he doesn't get scared at night. It's a way to introduce him to the orchestra. It also paves a way to open discussion about emotions he is feeling when hearing music.


Christian listening to the Musical Storm (excerpt from Beethoven Symphony No 6) while painting and colouring the movement of the music. We explore many musical terms.

Tina has been conducting Kindermusik classes for newborns to five-year-olds at Castle Hill and Rouse Hill for the past six years. A vocal coach for the past 16 years, Tina is also the director of One Voice school of Singing at Kellyville Ridge. For more information about classes contact her on tina@kindermusikwithtinabangel.com.au.

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