They’re not and here’s why…
Have you ever heard “my son started playing piano at age 2,” or “my daughter picked up her first guitar when she was 3!”
It’s true that early instrument exposure is important.
However, age-appropriate instrument exploration (like shakers and rhythm sticks), especially within a group setting, is a critical first step in 0-3 music education.
Here’s the logic behind this approach, how to pick the right starter instruments for your toddler, and why toddler music class is much more beneficial than toddler music lessons.
What’s Wrong with Toddler Music Lessons?
Think about toddlers and toys. Does s/he play with the same toy all day every day?
You probably rotate them in and out to help tune up different abilities and renew interest.
There’s a reason rotating learning tools (including instruments!) is important for our youngest learners. They lack the attention span needed to devote to just one activity.
So, even if your toddler took an interest in one instrument, the chances of her coming back to it over and over are slim.
Toddlers also need exposure to a variety of early instruments to help develop things like fine motor skills (grasping, pinching, pressing, etc.) and steady beat (think tapping on a hand drum).
These skills not only ramp up basic school readiness but help them excel at activities like music lessons when they’re older.
How Do I Know Which Instruments Are Best For My Toddler?
Toddlers need sturdy, safe, and easy-to-grasp early instruments.
Plus, early instrument exploration goes so much farther than learning about different sounds.
For example, making soft and loud sounds with an egg shaker is the perfect activity for boosting self-regulation (like calming down before a nap).
And simple, sheer scarves can really help toddlers imitate sound through movement, taking their imaginations to the next level.
The best part is, many of the instruments you might see in a toddler music class can be recreated with household items.
A box of rice is the perfect substitute for egg shakers and chunky wooden puzzle pieces are ideal sand blocks.
What’s The Benefit Of Group Music Classes For Toddlers?
When toddlers experience music and movement with others, they’re learning about important concepts in a fun, memorable environment, and gaining essential social-emotional skills they’ll carry throughout life.
That’s the big advantage over a lesson…at this age, the “group” is what makes the learning stick.
Research shows that when trusted grownups are present, children feel the safety they need to create freely.
Plus, it supports an irreplaceable bonding experience that feeds into confidence, communication, and so much more.
So, should you be anti-music lessons? Absolutely not.
From dexterity to listening skills, exposure to age-appropriate instruments and fundamentals learned in a class setting will make all the difference when transitioning to the piano, guitar, or whatever single-instrument lesson your child desires when the time is right.
Help develop the foundations she needs to turn a love of music into a passion, and boost major cognitive skills along the way!
-Reposted from Kindermusik International