Activities & Days Out / 26 August, 2020 / Ellie Thompson
Babies love to listen to voices, and very early on they will recognise the tone, rhythm and pitch of a familiar voice. During their first year, children will pick up all the sounds they need to know so that they can learn and develop the ability to speak in their ‘mother tongue’. A relatively new born baby, will still have the ability to perceive any phoneme* they hear but that ability will be lost within the first year. When listening to music, children are grasping elements of their native language. They will practise making these sounds in preparation for producing their first recognisable words in a couple of months.
The accompanying rocking and jiggling actions are not accidental. Research has shown that when we move and sing at the same time we engage nearly all of our brain, which enables us to translate and store new information very efficiently.
The clever teachers at Monkey Music understand how important music is for early development. ‘Rock n Roll’ is stage one in Monkey Music world, and suitable for babies aged 3 months to a year. My first child was just four months when we started classes, but even at such a young age, she was captivated.
There are separate classes specific to age group, soon she’ll graduate to ‘Heigh Ho‘, for babies 12+ months, and then it’s on to ‘Jiggety-Jig‘ for the two and three-year-olds, and finally, ‘Ding-Dong‘ for the threes and fours.
It’s a fast-paced class, which is fantastic as babies have such short attention spans.
The classes are packed with different sensory props and visually stimulating experiences, every week there’s something new. Towards the end of each lesson, all the babies lie completely enchanted, mesmerised by the light show on the ceiling, and transfixed by the noise of the triangle and the beautiful soothing lullabies sung by the teacher. They then come alive again for the bubble machine that ends the session, with a final goodbye to Monkey for another week.
You’ll soon master the variety of catchy and interactive songs that are sung at each class, especially if you both do your homework with the Monkey Music CD. There are songs that welcome the children to the class, songs that encourage babies to track Monkey around the room, and songs that teach children to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to Monkey, and his little side-kick, Mo. They’re not always your usual nursery rhymes either, which is a refreshing change!
The specially trained teachers at Monkey Music know that early exposure to music sharpens up a whole host of skills, but language development is at the heart of everything they do. Through all of their songs and activities, your child will be picking up on different sounds which he will put in his ‘soundbank’ for use later on. Never underestimate how much your child is benefiting from a Monkey Music ‘age-specific’ classes whilst he watches and listens to what is going on around him!
Very young children ‘think with their bodies’ before they ‘think with words’ and Monkey Music songs have been specially written to encourage young children to move their bodies as they respond to the music.
By joining in with Monkey Music songs which use repetitive actions and simple words, your little monkeys will feel confident and are able to express themselves freely so their whole brain is engaged in processing new information. The result is that the children are so busy that they don’t realise how clever they are being – their language skills are developing, their physical skills are being honed and even early social skills are in evidence as they have lots of fun with each other.
As children get older, more complicated songs that use a wider vocabulary are used to create a mood and tell a story. The more popular songs form the basis for musical learning and children learn how to compose a musical accompaniment to change how the song sounds. Songs become more personal and will form the first music in a musical repertoire that your child will remember for their lifetime.
There are lots of other musical activities at Monkey Music too, like learning to read music and how to tell the difference between the sound of a trumpet and a trombone!
If your baby is approaching three months – have a look for a Monkey Music class in your area – they’re popping up all over the country.
Monkey Music is also perfect for pre-school children up to 4 years of age, so even if you haven’t had the privilege of joining from the early months of your child’s life, it’s never too late – you can sign them up now and enjoy some Monkey Music fun.
For any new mums out there feeling a little intimidated at the thought of your first mummy and baby group – don’t worry, book it, and go – you’ll both love it. In fact, the guys are Monkey Music are so confident you’ll love their classes they offer the first one free, so you can trial it out with no obligation to sign up.
Monkey Music is now busy taking bookings for the winter term. Head over to their website to find your nearest class.