I recently overheard a concerned parent talking to another parent after class about how her child, “just won’t sit down”. She expressed her concern that maybe her child wasn’t getting as much out of the class anymore. He used to sit in her lap and seem very interested in the songs but now he just wanders around the room. I felt lucky to be within earshot of what they were saying and was able to join in on the conversation and share some of what we know about different learning styles and stages of development.
It is easy to feel like you’re child isn’t “getting it” when they are wandering around the room, staring out the window or engaging wholly with another child. However, here is the research-based, black and white truth: between the ages of birth through 5, your child is a sponge and is absorbing everything! If you’re in the classroom, you can trust he’s picking up and digesting all of those important musical vitamins!
When I was interning with another Heartsong Teacher, I had the unique opportunity to observe for a few weeks before joining in the class, and it was magical! These observations ended up playing a significant role in my final decision to become a Music Together teacher and I’d love to share why by telling you about one of my observations.
We were singing a song with eggs when a toddler exited his father’s lap and started teetering around the room. The father did the perfect thing and just kept singing and shaking his eggs. After a minute the little boy came back over to where his father was sitting, and began to bounce in perfect time to the song! He was at an angle where neither the teacher or his parent was able to see this musical response, and after 30 seconds of bouncing with the song he went back to wandering around the room.
I like to call this behavior “wondering as they’re wandering”, because the child is TOTALLY tuned in to what is happening while he is processing the sights and sounds of the class in a way that looks less involved. As he is wandering around, staring out the window, or engaging in “tribe-like” activities with other children, his mind is wondering about everything he is seeing, hearing and feeling. He is processing this information in a very pure and un-filtered way because we aren’t focusing on his performance of the music.
Allowing your child to wonder as he wanders is so important! Resist the urge to create an expectation that he needs to spend the entire class in your lap or play the instruments in a conventional, ordinary way. Relax, have fun, and show your child that music making is fun by singing and moving freely yourself! This is the best thing you can do for him as he continues digesting all these musical vitamins and building his musical competency.
Until next time.
Music Together Teacher
Music Together Teacher