The Nurturing Power and Musicality of our Singing Voice

Sunday 19th June 2016
Julie Wylie

Four-year-old Isobel sings to her baby brother in exactly the same loving way that her parents have always sung to her.

When we sing to our babies and young children we instinctively share our feelings of love, playfulness, our joint experiences and emotions. Singing is mutually enjoyable for parent and child. We might think we are not musical, but parents everywhere have to realize that their singing voice is the most important in the world for their child.  You sing a question, your baby answers with musical expression.  These singing games at bath time, changing time, cuddle time are building strong emotional bonds of connection. All the elements of music are incorporated in singing, listening waiting, filling in the gaps. These interactive musical moments are building the foundation for musical behavior.

Notice how all the elements of music are incorporated in this beautiful film footage of big sister Isobel singing to her little brother Reuben. She is using loving touch in her massage song, rhythmic patterning, beat and repetition. She sings the increasingly higher notes of the body pitch song as she sings up the five-note scale. Her facial expressions are highly expressive and exaggerated. She uses loud and soft (dynamic variation) expression and musical form.

Notice too how Reuben is listening, watching intently and taking turns with his big sister, singing his little musical offerings. This very loving musical exchange has come about because their parents have regularly played music games with them.  Isobel is able to play so lovingly and musically with her little brother precisely because she is imitating how her parents have always played with her.  Sister and baby brother are forming strong emotional bonds of love because they impact hugely on the infant’s ‘visual, vocal, and kinetic signals. Such interactive musical play contributes to healthy and optimal growth through the early years. It lays the foundation for healthy brain growth and development, brain/body connections, musical play, positive relating, timing, warm sympathetic interactions with others, mental health and well-being.

References: 

Dissanayeke,  E. (2008). If music is the food of love, what about survival and reproductive processes? Musicae Scientiae, Special issue, 169-195.

Wylie, J.C. (1996, 2000). ‘Body Pitch Song ‘ p.96.  Music, Learning, and Your Child.  Canterbury University Press.  Christchurch. New Zealand.

 


Testimonials

Great news, I already had some bean bag frogs so I tried out the Bean Bag Frog Song on Monday with great interactive results. So simple and effective. I sang it a-cappella like on the CD breaking it down nice and slow – all the kids and parents were right into it and straight away the kids the kids starting singing along with me. They also decided to make up their own ideas for what the frogs could do. Precious little minds at work…my favourite was balancing your frog on top of your head and now get ready to drop!

Thanks again and I really hope I also get to meet you one day.

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Melanie Maslin, Baby Love Music Fun, Australia
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