Children are all born with a predisposition to be mesmerized by steady beat.
In the womb they are constantly exposed to the even cadence of their mother’s heartbeat. It’s no wonder few things are more comforting for little ones than snuggling up to mother’s chest to be lulled by that rhythm again.
In Kindermusik we understand the multi-faceted benefits of steady beat exploration.
In our baby music classes, we do purposeful activities that expose baby's body to steady beat exercises.
Even at a very young age their bodies begin to internalize the beat, and with repetition their minds start to gain the ability to organize time and space.
The development and subsequent expression of this skill is so important to a child’s physical, intellectual, and even social development. Let’s take a moment to explore just how steady beat really makes a difference.
STEADY BEAT contributes to your child's...
In our Kindermusik classes we are preparing children for a lifetime of fun physical activities that depend on their ability to keep a steady beat.
As a child initially develops their understanding of steady beat they are able to first express it in ways that allow them to move the left and right sides of their bodies simultaneously, for example in bouncing, jumping, or tapping both hands on their knees.
As they get older and their coordination improves we can begin to challenge them to incorporate activities that require their left and right sides to move independently, ultimately leading to things like riding a bicycle, paddling a canoe, and playing sports, like soccer.
Did you know the brain’s ability to process information is directly correlated to a person’s rhythmic accuracy?
Scientist Fredrik Ullen from Sweden has performed studies that prove it (Karolinska 2008). Even language development requires a sense of rhythm.
As children get older, steady beat proficiency will help them recognize the pattern in language propelling them towards early literacy (Harman).
Steady beat is the foundation of music. Studies show the complex rhythmic patterns in lullabies are internalized by infants and contribute to the process of soothing them.
Children who have a strong understanding of steady beat are better able to recognize mathematical patterns.
When a child mimics a rhythmic pattern in music they are activating the same part of the brain that is needed for understanding mathematical patterns.
Take a crying child for example. When their caregiver sings a simple lullaby with a repeating pattern such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” the child hears the pattern, sees the pattern in the caregiver's lips, and if they are being rocked along with it, they will feel the pattern as well.
Eventually the child may stop crying and begin to mimic that pattern through slowed breathing or sucking on a thumb or pacifier in steady intervals (Geist 2012).
A child who has learned the ability to organize time and space through steady beat exploration is also better equipped to interact with other children.
As a blog written for the MacPhail Music Learning Lab points out, “teachers report that children with better abilities in steady beat are more well behaved in class and have less aggressive physical contact with other students. Steady beat seems to help in these areas because it contributes to children’s ability to concentrate, to understand space and distance, and to have better control of physical movements.”
When parents and caregivers encourage steady beat exploration to be a part of regular interactions with their littles ones, it opens the door for their child’s flourishing independence to be accompanied by an ability and desire to execute steady beat themselves.
Your baby dances to music as she sits rocking herself back and forth. That’s steady beat proficiency.
Perhaps your toddler marches through the living room clapping his hands together. That’s steady beat proficiency. Your toddler or preschooler counts slowly during a game of hide and seek. You guessed it - that is steady beat proficiency!
Turn on the music and get clapping, stomping, or rocking. It's all play to your child, and it can't be beat!