I am always amazed that during Quiet Time, we can actually get two year olds to stop what they are doing and lie quietly for 2-3 minutes. It’s a learning process, for sure, but after a couple of weeks, you can usually hear nothing but the music in a room which, just minutes before, was full of the whirling-dervish, all-out-energy of 2-3 year olds. As I watch them resting by their caretaker, I see an occasional head pop up to send a smile to me or a friend but the majority of the time is spent quietly snuggling or whispering to their grown-up. Class routine and peer/parent modeling show the little ones what this time means.
Some of our lessons focus on the silence between the music notes and how those moments of silence can enhance the music. A well-placed musical rest in the middle of a piece of music gives our brain a chance to process, to feel, to imagine. It enhances the beautiful notes that we are experiencing. During intentional quiet time, with our bodies at rest, our brain has a chance to go into quiet mode. After so much movement and stimulation through all of our senses, we take respite in the quiet. If we hooked each of us to an EEG we would see our brain waves go from lots of spikes in response to the music/language/movement we had been enjoying to a gentle, rolling pattern of rest. Just as rest after studying can help implant the information in our brain, children are using quiet time to process what has been happening and learn from it.
That’s all interesting to think about, but the real point of amazement happens when the music ends. When the Cleveland Orchestra plays the final note of a beautiful piece there is a delicious moment before the applause when one can hear a pin drop. The Silence. And there is part of us that never wants that silence to end. The same phenomenon happens at the end of Quiet Time. The music ends. And nobody moves. And I have to remind myself that these are 2 and 3 year olds who have boundless energy and will soon unleash it again. But in this moment, nobody wants to destroy that beautiful silence. I may see how long we can sustain it sometime. It’s a wondrous moment. Enjoy those moments in your home. Encourage them and interrupt only when necessary.
Priscilla Kaczuk, Licensed Kindermusik Educator