Last updated on Feb 23rd, 2021 at 01:40 pm

Jennifer Gaul, the principal of Broadacres pre-primary school in Durban, has been teaching for the past 43 years and has always started each school day with music, singing and dancing – with remarkable results.

The benefits Jennifer has seen include:
• A boost in the children’s self-esteem as they’re encouraged to interact with each other
• Improved social skills through interactive song and dance routines
• A good grasp of the concept of taking turns and listening carefully to each other
• A calming effect that lays the foundation for interacting with peers in a positive manner for the rest of the day
• Enhanced understanding that written symbols have meanings.

She has also noticed that children in Grade R work to a higher standard immediately after music class (concentration and articulation are enhanced).

“Children assimilate music in much the same way as they do language, so incorporating music into their lives from a young age can be extremely beneficial,” says Jennifer.

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How you can incorporate music into your child’s life?
• Give your toddler percussion ‘instruments’ like wooden spoons and cake tins to play with while listening to music.
• Jennifer notes that everything in a child’s environment takes on the role of teachers, so try to surround them with beneficial music that’s engaging, but not over stimulating (like Mozart and Vivaldi, or other classical music).
• This could include simply switching off the TV during mealtimes and playing music instead, or having music as a wake-up call in the mornings as the family gets ready for the day.

Music in-utero
It’s important to note that there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that playing music to your unborn child can make her more intelligent, but should you want to give it a try, make sure you don’t play music for more than an hour a day and choose calming sounds that aren’t above 70 decibels (about the level of a normal conversation), or you risk over stimulating or startling your baby (amniotic fluid is a good conductor of sound so the music doesn’t need to be louder to reach your baby).
For more on playing music to your unborn baby, click here.