‘Is there any point to coming to a music class?’
Does this sound familiar?
Is there any point coming as my child just won’t sit still?
Is there any point continuing as my child doesn’t join in, just stares at you?
Yep, I get asked this so often and my answer never, ever changes, it will always be a big, loud YES because how your child responds to class depends on how they learn. Broadly speaking there are three main learning styles visual, kinesthetic or auditory but do you know which learning style your child mainly adopts? And what about yourself?
Let’s start with the big balls of energy, the Kinesthetic learners. They are the ones who are whirling, bouncing, toddling around the room, exploring the corners, the plug sockets. They love being lifted, dipped, spun, swirled but may will resist loudly being brought back to a lap. These jellybeans are not being disruptive or rowdy. They are not ignoring what is going on. They simply learn best when they use their entire bodies so as long as they are safe, let them experience the music physically and try to resist the urge to get them to ‘sit down and pay attention’.
Hands up who has a child who sits and watches everything very intently? A child who will stare at either your mouth or mine while we are singing? This child is not choosing not to ‘participate’ or is ‘unsocial’. This child learns best when they visually focus intently on what is going on in the class. To help them really maximise their learning, these are the children who appreciate big exaggerated facial actions when you sing and will watch your body move to the beat, so stamp, clap, tap purposefully. Please try not to interrupt them when they are focused by trying to get them to drum with you or sing with you. I have no doubt that the minute they leave the room all through the week, they sing, they move, they re-enact what they have experienced at home.
And last but by no means least, the auditory learners. This child will be singing both in class and at home, although they may well be telling you not to sing along with a CD so they don’t have to cope with two different auditory sources. These are the children who may avoid direct eye contact preferring to gaze away or be unfocused but they are not necessarily shy, they simply learn most effectively by focusing on what they can hear. I know it is hard but as long as they are safe, let them be and try not to interrupt their focus. These are the children who will be loving pauses in music play eg shake and stop and at home they will love simply clapping and tapping out a beat with you and ear whispering games.
But as with everything, we are more than just one thing; we are not mono sensory so please don’t focus too much on just supporting your child’s primary learning style. In the same way that your child needs a balanced nutritional diet, they need a balanced sensory diet and that is easy, peasy – all our classes are naturally full of multi sensory learning opportunities giving you both kinesthetic, auditory and visual stimulation and support, so you both get a full brain/body experience with music every single class.