Whenever I tell people I teach music to children from birth to six, they often stare at me. “What can a baby do in music class?”
I usually answer this question with a sassy response about chewing on egg shakers. The truth is, infants get a lot from my music classes, but I’m not a fool. I know the babies won’t be singing with me anytime soon or ever shaking their egg shaker on rhythm for a while. (Some adults can’t do this.)
Every class prepares those babies for future music classes. They are learning to sit in a group. They are learning to share toys and attention. They are hearing melodies. They are moving their bodies and working on gross motor skills. They are grabbing rhythm sticks and working on small motor skills. They are signing “more” and “please,” speaking American Sign Language long before they will have understandable verbal words. They are enjoying class with friends and teachers. They are bonding.
Oh and we are laughing… a lot.
Every infant music class is also a class for the teachers, caregivers or parents that are also in the room. They are learning songs to sing in the classroom, living room or car. I am showing them ways to interact with their babies they haven’t thought of. I am exposing their babies to sounds, instruments and props they probably haven’t seen before.
Frankly, I am constantly amazed that I can keep a room full of infants’ attention for thirty minutes. It let’s me know I am doing something right.
In infant music, having a predictable class structure is key. I sing the same song to start every week. Then we have the same gross motor song. They always know we are done when I sing my goodbye songs. Babies love knowing what is coming next. It makes them feel safe.
I teach infant music classes, because babies do learn from my class. It might not look like a five year old learning a whole song in one sitting and playing the jingle bells on the two and four, but it is happening. I teach infant music, because soon enough those infants will be four year olds and they will have a great musical foundation to build on. I teach infant music for the adults in the room. I teach infant music, because making an infant laugh with a song is the best feeling in the whole world.