Rudolf Steiner recognised music to be foundational to intellect, creativity, mathematical capacity, and spiritual development, as well as perhaps the greatest of art forms in its own right (Campbell, 2000). Music is a surprisingly wonderful force that is accessible to all of us free of charge. It can help your child grow up to become confident, thoughtful, determined, patient, and well-balanced. Even though our genetic inheritance is fixed, our musical inheritance is expandable.
Music speaks in a language that children inherently comprehend. It attracts people in to its trajectory, alluring them to match its pitches, absorb its lyrics, move to its rhythm, and investigate its harmonic and emotional dimensions. Music’s physical fluctuations, systemized patterns, captivating rhythms and delicate variations interact with the mind and body in many ways, simply modifying the brain in a manner that one-dimensional rote learning cannot. Children are happy when they are bouncing, dancing, clapping, and singing. Even as music entertains them, engages them, and makes them happy, it helps sculpt their mental, emotional, social, and physical development, as well as providing them with the enthusiasm and skills they require to begin to teach themselves.
A huge amount of research has been conducted on the specific ways in which sound, rhythm, and music can improve our lives: positively affecting our emotional perceptions and attitudes from pre-birth onwards; reducing the level of emotional stress; and introducing a wider world of emotional expression (Hides, 2019; Croom, 2015). I recently worked with a non-verbal child who suffered severe anxiety. Roy. His entire demeanour was one of fear. He never wanted to participate in any activities, however he sat in the periphery diligently observing what was happening. He would show his interest with the occasional smile or body movement. As I carried out some careful observations, I noticed that this child reacted cheerfully when the activity incorporated clapping, stomping, chanting, singing, or any rhythmic patterns. Without pushing him to fully participate in an activity, I one day decided to lead a fun music lesson called ‘Name that tune’. You see, I was not entirely convinced that this child was nonverbal. I was certain that he would be able to speak with the help of music. If he was already showing an interest in rhythm, he may then react verbally to music and lyrics. As we prepared for the lesson, the excitement was electric. My students loved fun-filled, interactive activities. Fun, discovery tasks that had music at the core. Such activities were energetic, stimulating, collaborative, and focused. My students, at that particular time, had varying musical tastes. Whilst one enjoyed listening to Robbie Williams, another preferred musical theatre. While a student loved ABBA, another loved Glen Campbell. And so the fun commenced. Track number 1: Spice Girls, Wannabe; Track number 2: The Killers, Human; Track number 3: Celine Dion, It’s All Coming Back to Me Now. And so on…
Track number 7: Hootie & the Blowfish, Old Man & Me (a secret favourite of mine). Everyone listened. Everyone looked. No one named it. No one knew the answer. Except, we all looked to Roy who shuffled his chair in slightly to the circle and cautiously, yet proudly, sung the lyrics in a whispering performance. He knew every word, every line, every breath! He had a voice. Music, his friend, helped release it! Roy gradually began to talk more and participate more fully in activities. He could have conversations but preferred if they were musical conversations. And so be it, my time with Roy was mostly spent conversing through melody and accompanied with smiles. The world now made sense to Roy, through music!