Children are fascinating. And they are even more fascinating to observe when learning is involved. Small babies show recognition when the familiar “Hello” song starts or when we sing a song they have heard many times before. Toddlers, who are beginning to assert their independence, stop in response to the American Sign Language sign for “stop”. And when it’s Quiet Time, a class full of rambunctious two year old boys lie down beside their grown-up and do nothing for 2-3 minutes. It’s amazing. And why do they react in these ways that seem mature beyond their age? I feel it’s the scientific power of music.
A few weeks ago I read an article by Chuck Yarborough, pop music critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He said,
“Music is so much more than words set to a collection of sounds in varying pitches and tempos. Music is that place where you can find refuge from your hurts, revel in your joys and learn how to express your own loves or hates. It can speak out against social injustice, rally the troops, soothe a troubled mind or simply get your feet moving ........ genre is irrelevant. Music at its root is what gives us context.”
Music works in our brain like no words can. It lights up both the left and right hemispheres making it stick with us whether we like it or not. You know the feeling...when a song is stuck in your head and you can’t not think about it? John M. Ortiz, Ph.D. describes music in terms of “tao”, an undefinable word which, if it is ever translated, means “the way”. The philosophy involves “a call for a return to natural simplicity. ‘Being,’ rather than ‘trying’.” (John Ortiz,The Tao of Music, Sound Psychology, 1997, p.xviii). What could be closer to a child’s way of seeing the world? They just “are” and are able to let the music flow through and naturally move them. It’s our privilege to follow their lead and soar with them in the joy of creativity.
Priscilla Kaczuk, Licensed Kindermusik Educator