Kela Walton, Suzuki Early Childhood Music & Harp Instructor
Zero through age 3 seems so young, what can children possibly gain from the class?
These classes give children a big head start. Brain research tells us that much learning happens before age three. Science continues to prove that in these first years visual, spatial, musical, and social awareness begins. Our class requires an adult to accompany every child, so that each child benefits from the individual attention by a caregiver. This creates an optimal learning environment.
Over the years, I have personally witnessed children in our classes develop increased vocabulary, increased attention span, and stronger interpersonal social skills. Musically they can distinguish between high versus low pitches, loud versus soft dynamics, and fast versus slow tempos. They gain the ability to keep a steady beat, and those children who have been in the class for years can often actively listen then repeat rhythms and melodies (skills I’ve seen many older students struggle with in lessons). On a practical level they learn right versus left, counting, and pre-literacy skills. Perhaps most amazingly, very young children exhibit the ability to participate calmly in group activities with patience, as well as show compassion and empathy for the other children in our classes. I’ve seen babies as young as six months old focus while waiting to participate in an activity, and then smile when it is their turn!
A 2012 McMaster University study researching the impact of Suzuki Early Childhood Education (interactive music) classes versus passive music classes on babies ages 6-12 months found:
“Babies from the interactive classes showed better early communication skills, like pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. Socially, these babies also smiled more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn’t go their way.”
“Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parents showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music. Specifically, they preferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Infants who participated in the passive listening classes did not show the same preferences. Even their brains responded to music differently. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones.”
McMaster University. “Babies’ brains benefit from music lessons, even before they can walk and talk.” ScienceDaily, 9 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509123653.htm>.
If you would like more information about Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes at Buffalo Suzuki Strings visit http://buffalosuzukistrings.org/infant-toddler-program/