How to teach your baby music

by Alenka

For us this turned out to be the easiest and the most fun so far. And the fact that the last time I’ve heard of music notation was singing “Do-Re-Mi” in kindergarten, didn’t stop me. To aid our studies, I use the following site to get familiar with music reading myself: Introduction To Music Reading . Again, for the little ones there are myriad of methods:

Other materials:

  • Musical Toys Recommendations
  • Classics for Kids: Lots of materials and audio programs about classical composers, their works, and kid oriented interviews with the experts. Can be loaded to iPod. The ones I’ve listened to were really nice.
  • Fill the Measure manipulative cards
  • Online Music Theory Helper
  • Montessori Music Materials
  • Montessori Bells online: free internet based program for discrimination of musical sounds by pairing and ordering, developing pitch identification.
  • NY Philharmonic : fun site dedicated to music and musical instruments – for kids to explore by themselves
  • Classical Mommy musical Power Point Presentations: terrific collection. There are presentations on musical instruments, opera pieces, classical works – all with sounds.
  • Beethoven’s Wig Cd’s: these are absolutely my favorites. We are using them every day, in a car, with the kid and sometimes, secretly, even without. These CDs contain the original classical piece, beautifully conducted, and the “song” – funny rhymes written for that classical piece. Usually there is a name of a composer embedded into the song, on CD number three – every piece is for a different instrument. I love that pieces are SHORT: Blue Danube waltz by Strauss is magical, but the complete piece lasts 6-7 minutes. Both for learning and entertainment purposes, 2-3 minutes pieces that capture the main melody themes – are perfect.
  • Alan Wasserman – Personality in Their Music: I love this CD. It is a good introduction to music: I’ve learned a few new facts about composers and like how the pieces are performed.
  • Music Computer Games: Mozart’s Magic Flute Music Computer Game, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Music Computer Game, and Alice in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Music Computer Game – my kid is still too small for these, but my niece loves these the most. And since she is especially attached to the themes from Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky game won her heart completely.
  • Classical Composers CD-Subscription: my friend initially signed us up to this as a gift and I love the set that I get every three weeks – 2 CDS with a little collection of different works of this composer, a little booklet with some information about him, and a nice picture on a front of the booklet. We usually select a composer for the week and listen to his CD, looking through the booklet, at least few times a day. So far Bach is my kid’s favorite and he would discern his style even when we listen to some musical works that we’ve never heard before. In the end it probably came out quite expensive, but since were paying for it slowly, it was easier on the wallet. I loved that it includes composers from all over the world, many of which I am not familiar at all, though in the end we end up listening only for our favorites. Still, very educational, we use it on daily basis.
  • Fandex Composers Guide: I just got this one and found it pretty useful to keep around. As we listen to various music collection cds (e.g. Beethoven’s Wig cds that constantly on in my house), I would show the picture of the composer and try to fish out some quick fact about him from the cards. The format is very portable and quite convenient.
  • Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought): my sister’s older kids are really into this book. My friend even reads it to her 3 year old, but I think it is a bit of a stretch.
  • I couldn’t resist not put Musical Bingo that kid loves so much on this list as well. I find it incredibly educational. Read more in our Musical Toys Recommendations
  • Mike Venezia books: I love every single one of them. I think for my sister’s older kids we actually purchased every single one of those. These books have fascinating stories, incredible pictures (both real and comics) and are both educational and fun. The language is very easy for kids ears.
  • Flashcards: General Music by Jane Bastien: rather small flash cards, but I find using them easier, then making my own: they have a note on one side, and its name with position of piano on the other. The paper is very thin, but I had so much trouble figuring notes on our xylophone (that we use for Doman’s program of learning music), that these cards really helped. I just wish they were bigger and sturdier.
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6 thoughts on “How to teach your baby music

  1. Musical Mommy

    You should check out a music-teaching DVD for babies to learn to read music, pitch, and instrument names and sounds. It is called Trebellina. Anyone interested in early learning and music should know about it!

  2. Alenka Post author

    Thank you very much for your recommendation, Musical Mommy! I’ll surely check that one out.

    I actually recently viewed another video: “Classical Baby: The Music Show”.

    It looks very cute: cuddly animals dance, play, move during classical pieces.

    Still, I wasn’t thrilled about it. This video is targeted for the babies: for kids under two years old. I am not a great fan of TV for babies. There are a lot of resources at this site pertaining to the lack of positive effects (or even harmful effect) of videos for very small children:
    Can TV be Harmful or Helpful for kids development

    I also think it lacks very important component: labeling what the baby is seeing. This DVD seems to have the same fault as BabyEinstein DVDS – there is action, but no description. The only way I can see this DVD have any value at all, is if parents sit with the baby, label all characters, their actions, etc. AND – composers. Every musical piece lists compser on the screen… but nobody reads his name loud. Why not? “Baby Steps”?! This is Nutcracker suit by Tchaikovsky! To the baby both phrases are equally meaningless in the beginning. So if you’ll say “baby steps”, that’s what he’ll learn. If you say the full name – THAT’S what the baby will learn!

    There is a mode that actually shows the names of the pieces, names of the compsers and their birth/death years. That information is also silent – the parent is needed to read it.

    I am sure the babies would entertained by the jumping teddy bears, baby folding the puzzle, etc. I haven’t met a baby who wasn’t fascinated with the moving images on TV. Listening to the Classical Music is very beneficial for them too.

    But honestly, with all the negative effects from TV, I think that putting the classical CD at the background, while baby is playing in his baby-gym, or crawling around the room, or even sucking on his thumb – is going to be a LOT more beneficial to his development, then watching this DVD.

  3. matt robinson

    We are expecting twin girls in November
    I am a BIG music fan and proponent
    What do you recommend to introduce my girls to music and to use it to develop other skills?
    Thanks
    Matt

  4. Alenka Post author

    I just like playing all sorts of different classical and my favorite music in the house. We listen to tons of fairy tales and musical songs in the car. When my boys were little (up to 3), I’d do it “Doman” way – little pieces of music, 5-6 times a day, for a week, then a different tune/composer. Then I was leaving the CD just to play in the background. We’d dance to it, eat to it, beat the rhythm with the sticks, wave scarves, bang our large collection of different instrumetns. Around a year joined local mommy and me music classes – we especially liked “Music For Aardvarks”, since the teacher has been particularly fabulous and music was fun – I found “Music With Me” a little annoying. But it all comes down to a teacher.

    We also try to find interesting and child-friendly instruments whenever we go on vacation: we have a huge variety of maracas, whistles, shakers, scrapers, bangers, simple flutes and toy sitaras from all over the world – it adds fun and variety.

  5. TeachingMyToddlers

    Check out BrillKids Little Musician. It incorporates Doman style flashing with combined note and chord training, while including color note associations to tie in another sense. With every sense that is tied in, the learning and memory gets stronger and stronger. I used this with a few other color coded music games around the house, such as color coding the keyboard, and was able to give my kids the ever elusive gift of perfect pitch that doman speaks about! It took me 8 months of training, primarily through the program’s solfege nursery rhymes. You can see program clips on my youtube channel. http://www.youtube.com/teachingmytoddlers

  6. TeachingMyToddlers

    We also enjoyed:
    -Back to Bach, which I found to be MUCH better than Beethoven’s Wig. They offer an online program now, as well.
    -Tune Toddlers, a CD with lots of scales and such to help develop pitch
    -Trebellina
    -Suzie’s Piano, very simple but effective for helping identify the notes alphabetically
    -Prodigy Mozart by Geenogee- This is now out of print. It was just “okay” and I mostly played it in the background while the kids played.
    -Little Einsteins is great “edutainment” now that the kids are older.

    We tried all of those, but none gave my kids Absolute Pitch except using Little Musician for 8 months. I tested them at the beginning and every other month throughout the process in a non-stressful way with M&M’s ;) . My top pick would be Little Musician, then Back to Bach, and it’s a toss up after that.

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