Music Magic

Date: 30 Oct 2020

Our partners at Boogie Mites discuss the important role that nursery rhymes and music practice can play in Early Years development. Try singing along at home with your little one!

At birth, the ear is the most developed sensory organ. Singing traditional nursery rhymes to babies before they learn to speak is a valuable starting point for learning language and for emotional wellbeing:

  • Sharing nursery rhymes provides a safe and secure bond between parents/carers and children
  • Lullabies, rhymes and traditional songs of every culture carry a special 'signature' of melodies, which helps to prepare babies’ ears, voices and brains for language
  • Nursery rhymes have phrases and repeated patterns which aid children's early language development, recall and memorisation
  • Nursery rhymes usually tell a story with a beginning, middle, and an end, teaching children that events happen in sequence
  • Nursery rhymes use patterns and sequences, so children develop early foundations for mathematical thinking as they recite them

But nursery rhymes alone will not maximise the potential brain-boosting benefits that music can offer in early years development.

At Boogie Mites, we love nursery rhymes and traditional songs – the more singing, rhythm and rhyme the better! The songs being sung by family members and carers, at home or at nursery, provide the all-important repetition that can have positive effects for children, at this time when brain plasticity is at its greatest. Repetition is key.

However, it’s not only nursery rhymes that provide benefits for development. There is so much more that children can get from different types of music-making opportunities in early years.

Research suggests that there are 3 main aims for early years music-making that we can put into place to maximise the benefits for brain development:

1. Feeling The Beat
Developing rhythmic awareness

As soon as children can move, clap, grasp sticks or shakers to keep the beat, they can learn to synchronise actions, which develops their rhythmic awareness. Moving to music with a strong, steady drumbeat regularly, and keeping the beat using body percussion, movement and instruments maximises this potential.

2. Listening and singing
Developing pitch and melodic awareness

Encouraging children to listen to and sing daily with a wide range of melodies will help them develop an awareness of pitch, tempo, dynamics and will refine their ability to hear and sing in tune. Listening to, singing with, and responding to recorded music of many different styles and genres greatly increases the potential development of melodic awareness.


Developing pattern and phonological awareness

Playing follow the leader for sequencing of sounds, actions and words to music will help develop children’s sequencing skills. Call and response games that use drums to make tap and bang sequences will help to develop memory recall and pattern recognition. Playing with words, such as tapping out syllables will refine auditory processing and strengthen phonological awareness, the most important indicator of literacy ability at age 5.

Most important of all: repetition, repetition, repetition remains the key factor needed to harness the potential benefits. However, the songs also need to be engaging to capture the interest of under 5s. The use of instruments such as shakers, sticks and drums, alongside songs of different genres with inspiring themes, will aid engagement.

At Boogie Mites, we have written and recorded songs using many different styles of music. We have done this so that children can achieve the maximum brain-boosting benefits that music can offer to support early years development through regular music practice.

We recognise the importance of making our music as enjoyable for the adults (parents and practitioners) taking part as it is for the children. Children in early years relish taking part in the things that their significant adults enjoy taking part in. They will feed off the enthusiasm of adults taking part in our upbeat music-making activities.

Bright Horizon nurseries use Boogie Mites programmes from Babies to School Ready. Why not enjoy the music magic at home with your children:

You can also enjoy a free download of Boogie Mites Humpty Dumpty.

Happy Boogying!