Blog Post – Article

Child Music Prodigy

5 ways to cultivate a child prodigy! (Part 1)

Is your child a Mozart in the making? How does one identify a child prodigy? At some point of parenthood, every parent will wish that their kid will one day become a child prodigy. But what is a prodigy? Is it possible to cultivate your child to become a prodigy or does it take a certain prerequisites? In this article, we discuss how to discover the prodigy in your child and how you can help your child towards becoming one.


Step 1: Start early!

Like from 9 months old!

Recent research show that the golden window for music education starts as early as 9 months old and can significantly enhance a child’s neural response to both speech and music. While music lessons for babies are readily available, bringing an infant for music lessons may seem like a farfetched idea to some, so here are some ways you can provide your child with music education right at home:

Play soothing and easy-to-listen to music to your child regularly. While listening to the music,

  • Tap to the beat on their hand (or buttocks if you wish).
  • Gently move their arms and sway with to rhythm.
  • Do the good ol’ peek-a-boo but in sync with the beat
  • Dance rhythmically in their view as a form of entertainment for them
  • Hold their hands and assist them in playing simple rhythms on the percussions
  • Let them watch you play a music instrument
  • Sing the pitch C when you teach the alphabet C

  • The ideas are endless! Simply run a search on Google and let them flood in!

    But what if your child is has passed that golden window? Is it too late to do anything? Read further to find out!


    "After 12 sessions, infants’ temporal information processing was assessed in music and speech using brain measures [magnetoencephalography (MEG)]. Compared with controls, intervention infants exhibited enhanced neural responses to temporal violations in both music and speech, in both auditory and prefrontal cortices. The intervention improves infants’ detection and prediction of auditory patterns, skills important to music and speech."

    T. Christina Zhao and Patricia K. Kuhl


    Step 2: Create a musical environment at home!

    Studies have shown that children who learn music from young age also show signs of excellence in other aspects of their development. Playing music is like doing a workout for your brain. As we play music, our brain forms signal paths in our nerve system to perform the complex task of playing a piece of music.

    Let us illustrate this remarkable process with a step-by-step example:

    *Ryan plays the C major scale with 4 correct notes and 4 wrong notes* 
    Ryan's brain records 8 notes played  
    *Teacher points the wrong notes out to Ryan* 
    Ryan's brain updates and replaces the wrong note 
    *Ryan attempts playing the C major scale again but with 2 wrong notes. Teacher corrects Ryan.* 
    Ryan's brain updates and replaces the wrong note  
    *Ryan attempts playing the C major scale once more, and this time he played every note correctly* 
    *Teacher notes that Ryan has now corrected his neural connections and encourages Ryan to continue practicing to strengthen neural plasticity*
    

    This is an ideal situation where the student learns quickly under a teacher's guidance, usually possible with children who have been exposed to music from as early as 9 months old (as described at Stage 1 of our article). What has happened seems straightforward – the student is able to play correctly soon after the teacher points out the mistakes. However, the underlying process is more complicated than that; it involves the child's cognitive ability to read the music score, converting that information into fine motor skills, receiving feedback from the various sensories (eg. sight, sound and touch) before forming a neural path and then into the memory storage. There are multi-level neural processes that happen simultaneously even though the student only has to play one note at a time, and they take place at various speeds, depending on the child’s brain development (remember the golden window for music education?). Some children are able to acquire new skills after just one lesson while others may some take months. However, it is almost certain that as long as the brain gets its required amount of training, the neural paths will always be able to form to achieve the desired outcome.

    In early childhood education, play is crucial. Unstructured play, especially, enhances the child’s brain development and nurtures their creativity when they form their own play rules and come up with solutions to problems. In structured learning such as an academically-driven education system, children tend to be taught through rote learning. Although this fulfils the basic levels of Bloom's Taxomony, the later stage, ‘synthesis’, is often absent.

    In early childhood stages, children spend most of their time at home when not in school. By creating a musical environment at home, parents set the stage for creative learning with games like guessing the note, drawing a picture based on what a song makes them feel, pretending to be a rockstar at home, call-and-echo games and creating a dance to a song. The ideas are endless, but it must be noted that it is important parents set aside some time to engage their children.

    If parents are equipped with basic music knowledge and are able to engage their children in musical activities right at home, it could be a very rewarding bonding experience that is efficient at the same time. Imagine saving thousands of dollars a year on music education!

    This is testing the limits of Dylan's ears. Dylan has been exposed, from 5 months prenatal,
    to the same high information music education system now available in the baby brain training app found at nuryl.com

    On the next blogpost...

    This is the first of a series of blog posts on early childhood music education. We will be publishing one part a week, so stay tuned!

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