By Kira Rappaport, MA Music Education
A baby’s sense of hearing is the first sense to develop, at 17 weeks in the womb. Baby spends the majority of its time in-utero listening to the strong and steady beat of Mom’s heart, as well as the voices around them, whether in speech or in song. When a baby arrives in our world, we coo and hum and sing and sway. Babies sing before they speak and dance before they walk.
Interestingly, it has been shown that Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients may not remember themselves or their loved ones, but they remember the music they have known and loved in their lifetimes. This is because music is the one and only thing in the human experience that uses every part of the brain, something no other academic or artistic discipline does.
Here is a quick and fascinating read on how music accesses every part of the brain: https://www.ucf.edu/pegasus/your-brain-on-music/
Music connects us to our past, present and future. The songs our grandparents sang are passed down to us through our parents and we sing them to our own babies, knowing that one day, they will sing them to their babies. Music is found in every culture in the world.
Making music with babies helps them connect to us and to their culture. It can help mark the beats of the day. We can sing a wake up song, a clean up song, a nap time song, a bedtime song. In addition to being a parenting tool, music can calm and soothe our children and ourselves!
I sang “Three LIttle Birds” by Bob Marley during every class I taught at the beginning of the pandemic. Singing, “every little thing is gonna be alright” helped get all of us through the crazy uncertainty of these times.
Perhaps you are one for whom singing doesn’t come easily. You can hum a melody or replace the melody with rhythmic chanting. No matter how much you may not love your voice, your baby does and wants to hear it! It has been my pleasure and privilege to teach Music and Mindfulness on Zoom for Pump Station every Monday and Wednesday at 10:30am since the Stay-at-Home orders began in March 2020. Attending a weekly music class allows parents/caregivers and their babies a chance to come together in community to breathe, sing, dance and connect. For me, when all my in-person teaching completely stopped, these zooms gave me structure and purpose and 13 months later they still do! So, I invite you and encourage all to sing and dance with your children, there truly is no better way to connect!
Trained as a classical flutist, Kira discovered her passion and talent for teaching while living and performing in New York City. She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Music Education with an emphasis on early childhood music. She teaches Parent and Me Music Classes, Preschool Music Classes and workshops to teachers on the use of music in the early childhood classroom. Kira has released 2 CD’s of children’s music:Beautiful Day & Sing Together, which can be found on iTunes. She regularly performs with her band, Kira Rappaport and Friends.
Kira is married with 2 daughters of her own and she is passionate about being a source of knowledge, love and music to parents of young children.