Children have a wonderful capacity to appreciate and make music. Early exposure to a music of all types has intrinsic value -- it can tell a story, set a mood, and reflect the character of a culture. Music stimulates the part of the brain associated with pattern recognition and mathematics, helping to lay the foundation for later academic success.
Music matters. Encourage your child to listen to all types of music and to clap, dance, and sing along.
As your child gets older you can play all sorts of musical games with her. You can sing or hum loudly along with the music, encouraging your child to do so, too. You can clap your hands to the beat, and you can dance free style in response to the music, swaying, twirling gently, or dancing in any way that feels right for the music playing.
Start to teach your child to recognize the instruments that are being played in a particular piece of music, as well as teaching her the name of tunes - "Mommy, Swan Lake is playing on the radio!" - or even composers. Make sure your child has access to lots of instruments that she can play - maracas, xylophone, drums, guitar - and encourage her to sing along with favorite tunes.
Remember that during these years, your child is in a sensitive period for music and has a spontaneous interest in the development of pitch, rhythm, and melody. Musically talented parents who expose their children to live music in their home life tend to find they produce children who are musically gifted, and Suzuki music teachers have shown for years that children younger than age four can learn to play an instrument, such as the piano or violin."
—Tim Seldin, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way
© 2008 Dorling Kindersley; reprinted with permission of the publisher.