Singing and Swinging Through Musical Play

31st March 2016
Julie Wylie

Reid is one year old and sings as he explores and moves. His  songs are spontaneous and contain a range of patterns, high and low sounds, rhythms and clear notes and are a part of his exploration of movement and sound.His songs are fluid and have evolved through all his early babbling and singing games with his musical family.

He is constantly exploring with voice and sound and movement. He shakes, taps, rubs and hits objects, listening intently to the contrasting patterns and sounds he makes. He explores his world through such sound making, listening, moving. His parents play and reinforce his musical offerings through imitation of his patterns, encouraging him through their interactions and involvement in his sound exploration. They play echo singing games copying Reid’s vocal sounds, gestures and movement thus reinforcing what he is doing. Often if Reid taps out a pattern on the floor, or high chair, his mother copies his pattern. This playful interaction is laying the foundation for musical appreciation through listening, turn taking, repetition, exaggeration, variations of loud/soft, fast/slow, high/low and use of these elements of music.

Reid is rapidly developing a huge repertoire of vocal sounds, words and is making recognisable attempts to sing along with his family members. He enjoys taking the lead and hearing others copy his sounds, movements and gestures. His type of spontaneous song, with its free rhythms, movement and sounds is  a beautiful example of infant song, quite different from what we adults might traditionally identify as a song.

The regular musical interactions between Reid and his parents are contributing hugely to their emotional bonding as a family, having a major impact on Reid’s vocal, visual, timing, and kinetic signals that his parents have always picked up on.
Through this musical interaction which has been a part of his life since birth, Reid has a well developed sense of self, a natural sense of musical curiosity, playfulness, engagement. There is a strong emotional bond between Reid and his parents. All their interactions could be described as musical, contributing to Reid’s healthy and optimal growth through his early years and laying the foundation of music for life.