The reason I love working musically with families at MAMA is because of the power music has to support bonds within families and the community. I want to empower parents to better understand how to use music to support their child’s development and relationships. Musical interactions support both you and your child, and it’s accessible to anyone!
We connect with others through music across our entire lives, and most of the time we barely realise we’re doing it! As adults, we may also connect with others through verbal language, sign language, written communication, complex body language and facial expressions. Over time we learn to interpret rules, subtleties and social norms to interpret and use these ways of connecting.
Children, however, rely heavily on the way we communicate in order to feel connected to someone. Without thinking too much about it, we naturally change our intonation, facial expressions and movement to make ourselves understood by children. We notice that when we use a higher voice and exaggerated expressions, the child often matches our excited energy. When we use a slow, quiet voice, we can bring a sense of calm to the child. Even when we’re talking throughout the day, we’re using the musical elements of melody and rhythm to communicate.
When multiple people engage in a music together by listening, playing, singing and dancing, we move at the same rhythm. That’s why we feel so connected to others at a concert or in a choir. Movement in kids songs provides this feeling of connection, with the added element of actions! Mirroring someone’s movement strengthens this connection even further, as you’re responding to them in a very explicit way. Kids LOVE this. They can lead and follow within the interaction, feeling both secure and challenged.
The structure, familiarity and additional sensory stimulation of music are also key to connecting. Structure and familiarity are important because almost everything children encounter is new to them, and this can be very overwhelming. By adding a familiar song to a new or confusing situation, you’re showing the child that you can respond to their needs. The additional sensory stimulation of music (instruments, movement, touch, props, etc.) can help kids to focus on the interaction. They will be more likely to notice other people and comprehend the experience when they’re regulated and engaged.
Each week in our group music program for families at MAMA, we focus on a different way we can connect with and support our kids using music. The more we know about it, the better we can use it! We sing new songs to fill your musical toolbox, but never forget the classics of course. The support and social engagement with other families is an invaluable component of the group, and it’s an opportunity to explore together without judgement.
Our next 6 week music program begins on Thursday the 12th of March! You can sign up for the full 6 weeks at a discount, or choose the flexible 4 session option. If there are any spots remaining and you’d like to try out the program, you also have the option of attending casually. Hope to see you there 🙂
Bookings are available here.