And that’s the point. That little handle provides a different experience for your child. Just by putting a little handle on the egg shaker we can explore and play with the instrument in a myriad of ways. And that’s what we want for our children at Heartsong. We want them to have the opportunity to play with music (with and without musical props and instruments) long before there’s ever any expectation of playing music.
I was reading an article interviewing Jimmy Fallon who recently became a father for the first time. He understandably wanted to talk about his new daughter as new parents are likely to do. He talked about how he’d had a thought that really blew his mind. He realized that his daughter was experiencing everything in her life for the first time! It astounded and thrilled him. And it allowed him to also experience everything with her for the first time. Again.
Sometimes our desire to teach our children how something works or what it is for can interfere, quite innocently, with their natural desire and ability to figure things out for themselves. We want them to “get it right”, “use it right”, “do it right”. But we miss out on so much (and so do the children) when we have expectations beyond what their stage of development might presently be. We may be comparing our 16 month old to the 11 month old across the circle who is shaking that egg furiously while our child is staring at it on the ground before licking it and balancing it on her head. We, thinking we are helping, instinctively grab hold of their arms or hands and move them like the teacher to make sure they understand where their arms “should” be going. We forget that they will get their arms up, down, around etc. on their own and in their own time just by being fully immersed in the musical experience. Your children are always aware of what you’re doing. So keep modeling by singing and moving on your own!
It’s ok to allow them the time to get messy with the jingle bells or try to sit inside the upside-down gathering drum. Our children can be likened to little scientists. They do their own little tests to see how the object will respond while simultaneously taking in what you are doing with said object.
So just keep shaking that egg, whooshing that scarf, and beating the drum. They’ll catch on when they are ready; while they teach you how to make bunny ears out of a pair of mallets.
And when you find yourself worrying about whether your child is catching on or catching up remember what one of my favorite teachers says:
“Your child won’t go to college in diapers.”
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher