6 Ways To Cultivate Musical Intelligence In Children
Music intelligence is the skill of appreciating musical patterns, composition and performance. Here are six ways you can help your child develop a knack for tunes.
Earlier, understanding of intelligence was linear. It only included general intelligence – focusing on cognitive abilities like solving problems, reading comprehension and reasoning. Parents with this understanding quickly sidestep unique aspects of their child while assessing strengths.
Howard Gardner’s list of eight types of intelligence has brought a shift to this age-old perspective. He named eight types of intelligence: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. Each represents the different ways children connect to and process information.
Musical intelligence – according to Gardner – was defined as the skill of appreciating musical patterns, composition and performance. It helps strengthen the connection between a child’s body and brain. Children who exhibit this type of intelligence are best suited to be musicians, DJs, songwriters and producers. Whether your child picks up after you in musicality or is the only person in your family who has ever shown any interest in it, the following six activities will help nudge them in the right direction.
1. Explore Musical Instruments
An iconic scene from the movie If I Stay, is the eight-year-old protagonist walking into a room full of instruments, passing over them all to settle on a lone cello in a corner. This is exactly what we recommend for this activity. Plan an outing and take your child to a musical instrument store in your town. Let them hover over, inspect and try every instrument that piques their interest. Encourage them to pick one up and enroll them in classes. You can also pull several useful instrument tutorials off YouTube and let your child explore at their own pace.
2. Encourage Jam Sessions
Jam sessions encourage spontaneity in creating music. Organise small jam sessions and invite your child’s friends along. Instead of traditional instruments, give them household items and encourage them to make music with what they have. They can use bottles as flutes, pans or tables as drums and even a jar of lego pieces as a shaker. Give them space to be innovative in using what you give.
You can also use conventional instruments for jam sessions if they’re readily available in your home. These sessions are perfect for family time, especially if the whole family is musically inclined. During parties or family events, set aside 20 minutes and invite your child to jam with you on their instrument.
3. Introduce Various Genres
Create a playlist of songs that includes different genres of music. Add classical songs, jazz, rock, blues…there are a tonne of options to choose from. When you’re home, play these songs on the speaker and pay attention to how your child reacts to each genre. You can also talk to them about your favourite musicians and their life stories – like Beethoven’s miraculous feat of composing even though he was deaf. This will help your child develop their own musical palette.
4. Go Out Gigging
Take your child out to local music shows, concerts and music festivals. Being around a musical crowd can inspire a child with musical intelligence. If they don’t like crowds, try online concerts. Take advantage of the way the music industry has gone digital.
5. Put On A Show
Help your child put on a show for you. If they aspire to be a DJ, rent out a DJ deck and let them play to their heart’s content. Putting on a show can be nerve-wracking for your children, so stay mindful of your reaction. Be positive and encouraging. Help them identify points to improve for next time. Also keep an eye out for local talent shows or gigs they can play in.
6. Learning Songs
Ask your child to pick a song and help them learn it on the instrument of their choice. Google has a host of web pages dedicated to songs, their notations, chords and tabs. With some patience and practice, your children will be well on their way to learning their first song. They can then compile the songs they learnt for their performances.
Your child will need your support in developing musical intelligence. A consistent effort from your side will be needed initially, along with their hard work and practice. Since music is a social activity, don’t forget to involve the family, caregivers and friends.
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