Parent interaction enhances musical learning

This article was sent to me by a fellow Kindermusik teacher. It recently appeared in the Australian Herald Sun

Hands-on parents strike better chord with children

Fay Burstin
February 05, 2008

PLONKING kids in front of music videos such as the Wiggles or Hi-5 doesn’t enhance their musical talent and may even hinder it.

New Australian research shows parents rely heavily on commercially produced CDs and DVDs for children’s musical stimulation, claiming they don’t have the time or musical talent for anything more creative.

But mass-market music products, especially those with a visual component such as videos, DVDs and TV, are no substitute for musical interaction between adults and children, and may even be detrimental, according to a Monash University education study.

“Singing with a young child allows for spontaneous vocal play, movement and drama that are not always possible with music CDs and DVDs,” said study author Peter de Vries. “Some products with a visual component are non-interactive . . . and detract from musical events.

“These products can constrain spontaneous musical play . . . and parents need to be aware of their detrimental effects on young children’s musical development.”

Dr de Vries’ survey of 63 parents of preschool pupils under five, published recently in the Australian Journal of Early Childhood, found 65 per cent of parents played music to children at least once a week and 18 per cent did so daily.

But only 29 per cent regularly sang to their kids and a meagre 8 per cent played with them using bought or made instruments.

Children often sang and danced to CDs but DVDs tended to “quieten children down”, with some parents noting their children “just sat there and blanked out”, the study found.

“Someone will be singing and dancing and talking to the camera, asking children to join in, and all I see is my child staring at the screen,” one parent reported.

 

Research shows music helps develop children’s co-ordination, listening, language, communication and social skills.

Read the full article here.

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Yes, as a busy parent I certainly have plonked my kids in front of a video to get the dishes done, put the groceries away or even, dare I say it? to have a moment to myself. Brandon was a huge Wiggles fan and both boys wanted Mary Poppins again and again.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a trained singer to sing with your kids.  Some of my best memories of childhood were the family impromptu sing-a-longs on long car trips.  Don’t know all the words have a laugh fest when you make up your own!
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