We live in a musical world. From the ever-changing melodies of the breeze, the rhythmic, steady lapping of the waves, the low hum of critters at dusk, the forte booming of thunder during a storm—our world doesn’t just posses musical components; our world IS intrinsically musical! Recent studies are proving that even our very own sun and stars produce harmonies in space! (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8114694/Stars-song-captured-by-scientists.html). As humans who are born into, dwell in, and interact with our world, WE are intrinsically musical too! That’s great news for those of you out there who consider yourselves “not musically inclined.”
One of the very first experiences you have as a human, is feeling the rhythmic heart beat of your mother in the womb. When she gets excited or scared, you feel her heartbeat accelerate. When she is relaxed and content you feel a slow gentle pace. We are already making rhythm and emotion associations before birth! The musical parts of us form in conjunction with our physical bodies. Our voices have pitch that moves up and down to communicate ideas. Our breath has rhythm and changing dynamics—from loud to soft. We walk and run to a steady beat. As an array of instruments will sound with contrasting timbres, people have voices with varying tones and resonances. Regardless of race, religion, or place in society, we all have these qualities in common.
Much like our musical qualities bind us together in our humanity, so does group music-making bind us together as communities. Music can be traced back to the origins of people. It’s interesting to note the early uses of music: in initiation ceremonies, in wedding celebrations, and in pre-war rituals. What do these all have in common? They all foster community and unite people together under one vision. Though music can be made alone, there is something mysteriously powerful about making music with others. Even in the womb, our first musical experiences serve to unite us to our mothers. Experiencing music from a young age teaches us about emotions and connecting to people in ways we could never learn without it, and they are lessons that stay with you for life. Think about it—how many exact sentences said to you as a young child can you recall? Probably not even close to the number of songs learned as a child that you can sing word for word!
In short, music is necessary for everyone. Exposing your children to musical experiences early on is the best thing you can do for them!
by Kate Ritchie, MT-BC