Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why So Many Music Programs?

You may have noticed that we have a lot of music and movement programs here in the WFPL Children's Department. These programs are great fun for the kids, and they're a wonderful way for parents and children to bond as they sing and dance together. Even beyond that, music programs are incredibly helpful for children's developing brains!

Developing Language Skills
Starting from birth, children's brains are incredibly focused on learning language. They listen to everything being said, sung, and read around them, and their brain cells start to make connections based on what they're hearing. When they're listening to language, it's important for them to learn how to hear the smaller sounds that make up words. This skill is called phonological awareness. Music is incredibly wonderful at developing that skill. The rhythms, rhyming lyrics, and even the different tones in music all help children learn to differentiate between various sounds, and they'll transfer that skill to learning language and reading.

Gross Motor Skills
Children need to learn where their bodies are and how to move their large muscles, especially in their arms and legs. They also need to find their sense of balance. Gross motor skills will be essential as they learn to roll over, crawl, walk, run, and do nearly everything else they'll do throughout childhood. Many of the movement activities that we do during our music programs help develop these skills, including swaying, jumping, and dancing.

Small Motor Skills
In addition to developing their large muscles, children need to exercise and explore their small muscles, especially in their hands. Before they can learn to write, they need to have strong enough fingers to firmly grip a pencil or crayon, and they need to know how to make small, intricate movements with these muscles to write letters. In some music programs, children use scarves, shakers, and rhythm sticks, all of which develop small motor skills. Even clapping along with the rhythm, and eventually snapping their fingers, will help them get ready to write.

So be sure to check out our online calendar of events or pick up a calendar in the library to find out which of our music programs will fit into your schedule! And even if you can't make it for the programs, you can check out CDs and sing and dance along with your child. What may seem merely entertaining is both fun and beneficial for your child's development!

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