PDF Baby Teacher: Nurturing Neural Networks From Birth to Age Five

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Embeds 0 No embeds. Aoki C, Siekevitz P. Plasticity in brain development. Sci Am. Graham J. Cooperative Extension Publications.

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Gauvain M, Cole M. Readings on the Development of Children. Worth Publishers; Normal Development of Brain Circuits.

How a child's brain develops from the womb to age five

September Huttenlocher P. Synapse elimination and plasticity in developing human cerebral cortex. Am J Ment Defic. Childhood emotional maltreatment and later psychological distress among college students: The mediating role of maladaptive schemas. Musical behavior is basic to all cultures, both primitive and sophisticated.

And yet, in our enlightened late twentieth century there appears to be plenty of evidence that many are losing this basic dimension of expressing themselves. It should not be unreasonable to expect all adults to be able to clap their hands in time to the cheering at a sporting event. A person should be able to sing at a worship service without persons in the row in front turning around. An audience member should possess sufficient sensitivities to be moved by a nuance in an orchestral performance. A mother or father should be able to soothe their infant with a lullaby and rock to the beat of that lullaby.

Still many persons have not developed basic sensitivities which would allow them to function musically in society. Most adults should be able to demonstrate basic musical behaviors including. Still, if the audience lacks the expressive sensitivity necessary to hear the message below the surface, that message has fallen on deaf ears. Necessary sensitivities to the expressive qualities in music must be nurtured during the earliest months of life.

Then when those babies become 30 years old, they will be musically sensitive and be able to provide an appropriate nurturing musical environment for their children. One hundred years ago many families instinctively engaged their very young children in activities that were ideal for developing musicality.

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No one studied early childhood music education, and there was very little need for classes to be offered to infants and toddlers with their parents. Today we are discovering that during the past hundred years the musical sensitivities of each generation have been gradually devastated by the side effects of an increasingly sophisticated technological environment. Instead of making music, most only consume it-and the nutritional value of much of that musical consumption has become increasingly empty.


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While research is piquing our interest and is supporting a variety of reasons why music and movement experiences are important in the earliest years, it is interesting to note what previous generations did. Long before research advised us about what might be appropriate musical stimulation in the early years parents were naturally sharing musical activities with their infants and toddlers.

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These activities provided ideal experiences for nurturing a healthy neural network which is so necessary to fostering musical comprehension, coordination, and expressive sensitivity. I have conducted interviews with many senior citizens who were asked to recall a song, rhyme, or game that could be played with a baby on their lap. When other in the to year-old bracket were asked the same question, only some repertoire could be delivered. During the past years families have been redefined. Where once there were large families living in close proximity, now the nuclear family is smaller and more geographically dispersed.

This shift in family community has strained the continuation of aural traditions. The playful songs and rhymes, once shared by generations of adults with children, are gradually being forgotten. So what is good literature? There are several criteria which can be used to determine if a song is an excellent example of music literature for this young age. Of primary importance is the use of songs and rhymes in which the text relates to the make-believe world of the young child.

granlantimil.ml The words should invite the child into the fantasy of riding a horse or encountering a bunch of pigs. They are wonder-full , are appealing to adults and children, and are still pleasurable to sing after many, many repetitions. After determining if the words are sufficiently child-like not childish , observe the relationship between the words and the melody. The melody should serve as an extension of the natural expressiveness of the spoken line.

The rhythm should be close to the rhythm that would naturally occur if speaking the words. The melody should reflect the ups and downs, dramatic moments, intensifications, and repose of spoken inflection. Many songs seem to neglect this relationship between words and melody, Read the words of a song as if speaking the poetry of the words.

Listen to where the spoken rhythm and pitch inflections occur. Does the melody enhance those natural inflections or undermine, the expressive potential?

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This is no accident. It is an example of how in folksongs melody emerges naturally from language. Yet, when we sing the same song with the English words we put the question with the first phrase of the melody and ask the musical question with a statement rather than a question. This careless marriage of words and melody undermines an opportunity to influence the development of expressive sensitivity. If the text is sufficiently wonder-full, and the melody is natural to the spoken rhythmic and melodic inflection, the printed score is still no more than a skeleton of the music. Notation in its printed form is not music.

To sing songs as printed on the page is analogous to reading a story with no inflection.


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  • There is nothing in the words of the story to indicate where or how to speak expressively, and yet a good reader brings the words to life with expression. Likewise, music notation gives no guidance as to appropriate expressiveness. Yet, the artistic singer has an intuition for the nuances necessary to bring the skeleton of a song to life.

    Musical expressive sensitivity can only be developed by listening to other singers who exemplify expressive singing. If children are read to often and with expression, they will assimilate that concept and when later reading aloud, will bring those words to life. Similarly, children must be sung to with appropriate expression in order to nurture their instinct for musical expressive sensitivity.

    The songs and rhymes of our grandparents have demonstrated community endorsement. They are excellent examples of wonder, are an excellent marriage of words and music, and are still delicious after many singings. We should nurture our children with such musical expressions that emerged naturally out of an expressive need and not out of commercial expression. So by communicating only inferior music, the schools cut off the way to a higher development of the musical sense. In the name of good taste and of the Hungarian spirit alike, school literature generally used today must be protested against.

    I include in this the greater part of unison songs, too. Some writers of textbooks consider Hungarian children idiotic by tutoring them with such little verses and songs as could be improvised much better by any sound child given the chance. It is not advisable to peruse these collections.