You may be familiar with the tune ‘Whistle While You Work’ or ‘Just Singing In the Rain’. These songs seem to indicate that humming a happy tune can change how we view our circumstances by lifting our spirits and changing our mood.
As a mother of five, I know that often the stresses of family life can be greater than that of a jackhammer operator. Often the much-anticipated family vacation can be a time of pent-up nerves and frustration. When those times occur, stop and observe. What are you listening to?
Change your atmosphere by putting on a CD or tape of happy songs. You will be amazed at how music’s power will overcome irritating circumstances, calming and restoring peace, both in caregivers and in children.
But don’t stop there. Sing along!
Researchers indicate that music’s power goes far beyond an emotional lift. Physical changes occur in our brain when we hum or sing, bringing about a change in brain chemistry, which in turn lifts our spirits and calms our stress. This change is similar to that of a runner’s high, without the extreme exertion. Similar to physical exercise, singing (and moving) to music increases the brain chemicals called endorphins that cause euphoria, overcomes fear, depression, allows for creativity and brings calmness. (Mozart Effect.)
Here are some tips:
- When preparing for summer vacation, load your suitcase (or car) with happy CDs and tapes. Tuck in some soothing string classical music for calmer times.
- Make (or purchase) some rhythm instruments. Take time every day to make music with your children. Ear training and rhythmic development are enhanced by exposure to music’s powerful influence.
- If the occasion permits don’t just listen to music, don’t just sing along, but move to the beat. Do a rain dance; stomp around with your children. Be silly, have fun. They will expend some of their energy while valuable memories are being created. All of you will benefit with emotional calmness.
- Singing music stimulates creativity. Try this experiment. Before your daily music session, give your children a pad of paper. Have them spend 5-10 minutes drawing. Then have a music session, including moving and singing for at least 10-15 minutes. After the music session, ask them to draw again. Compare the two pictures. You may be amazed at the results. Creativity will fly!
- Encourage, encourage, encourage. Encourage your child to use their singing voice. Humming and singing may be a healing tool for life’s stresses later in adulthood. A few words, ill-spoken, can harm your child’s confidence forever.
- Remember that music’s benefits last a lifetime. At no time is its power greater than in early childhood. Take advantage of every opportunity.
Come on kids; let’s make music.