What is a good age to start learning music?
The Kodaly Method is an approach to music education, developed in Hungary by the
Hungarian composer and educator Zoltan Kodaly.
In order for a child to realise his
or her full potential, it is necessary that he or she begin musical training at
an early age. Kodaly emphasised that children must learn to read music at the same
time as they learn to read language. Kodaly felt that children between ages three
and seven are most sensitive to music, and therefore good musical instruction is
crucial at this time if the musical ear is to be fully developed. Kodaly recommended
that musical training begin no later than in Kindergarten and the primary grades.
Also central to the Kodaly Method is the philosophy that, as a child naturally learns
his mother tongue before learning foreign languages, so should he learn his musical
mother tongue, that is, the folk music of his native language, before learning foreign
music. Kodaly believed that the use of native folk music is most valuable in helping
children develop basic music skills because of its familiarity to children through
real-life musical experiences .
He felt that children are more sensitive to art
than adults, and would therefore only reach their full potential through the use
of the finest music. Kodaly claimed that exposure to the inferior 'educational music'
used in schools as a child would prevent one from being able to appreciate high-quality
music as an adult.
A child's brain goes through a process of developing and maturing,
its weight almost tripling by the age of three. A baby's brain is very fragile until
it becomes covered with myelin, a substance that insulates the brain. When a baby
has been profusely shaken, it can actually shake the brain around in the skull and
damage areas of the brain (Shaken Baby syndrome). While synapses are continuing
to develop during the first year, the brain builds the potential to learn. During
the first three years, the brain is storing information and memories that will be
the foundation for future learning. If this foundation is blemished, or stifled,
it can affect the entire life span of the child.
Knowledge on the early development
of the brain informs us that during the first few years of a child's life, extreme
nurture and care must be given for their future development. Exposing young children
to musical sounds, lullabies and rhymes assists in this development. Hearing music
is a sensory experience. Music has a soothing effect on an infant's mood.