Instruments! Playtime with Purpose

“I have a sound, a mighty fine sound, and it sounds just like this . . .”

Occasionally your Kindermusik teacher will bring out something new, something different, something special. It could be a giant rainstick, or a cymbal, or a buffalo drum, or a gong! There are so many interesting and varied instruments to learn about and play with.

This fun activity always seems to captivate little children. Their eyes widen as they experience something novel, something they’ve never seen or heard or held before! This is one of those WOW moments in class.

Several things are going on during this moment. First, your child is practicing their active listening skills. They are tuning out the chatter of the adults, the movements of the other children, and any other distractions. They laser focus on the new sound, shape, and timbre of the instrument. Timbre is the sound quality or “voice” of the instrument. It what makes a violin sound like a violin and a flute like a flute. They sound nothing alike! Even if they are playing the same notes and rhythms in the same register. We can tell which is which by its “voice”, or timbre.

This exposure to a new timbre is developing your child’s inner musician. As they are exposed to more timbres, your child will develop auditory discrimination. This is the ability to distinguish one sound from a group others, such as recognizing their mother’s voice in a sea of other parents calling out to their children on the playground at the park. Having developed auditory discrimination will help them develop tonal awareness, the ability to match pitch, the ability to play in tune, the ability to harmonize, and more.

Sometimes the new instrument is appropriate and safe for your children to handle, and other times it’s not. If it’s safe to do so, your teacher will walk around the circle and allow each child a turn to play the instrument. They always LOVE this opportunity.

This is when your child is practicing their “wait their turn” skill. Also called inhibitory control, this is the ability to hold back their urges and delay gratification. This is a CRUCIAL skill for humans to learn to protect themselves, prevent injury, get along with others, work in teams, and get along in polite society. Practicing this skill will help prepare them for when they start going to school or out to restaurants, church, concerts, and other public venues.

As your children step up through the Kindermusik levels they will be introduced to more and more interesting instruments. It will spark a love of music within them that will last a lifetime. Giving them this gift of music appreciation will enrich their lives as they attend live concerts, ballets, theatrical productions, and more. Art in all its forms enriches our lives and music is a key part of that. Thank you for letting us be the ones to plant this seed of music appreciation in your child’s life!