For all you ABBA/Mama Mia fans, you’ll recognize the title, “Thank You for the Music.” The lyrics go on to say, “What would life be, without a song or a dance, what are we?”
Although this is part of a pop tune from the 70’s, the intent is ageless and universal. Music has an intangible power to dig deep into our brains and our souls.
This week on the Southern Colorado Moms Everyday, I spoke with an early childhood music specialist. She highlighted all the neurological reasons why music is so important for young children.
As a mom, you probably already know a lot of the research in this area. If you don’t, a quick Google search of music and brain development will yield more information than one busy mom can process. But the educator I interviewed also touched on the importance of learning music as a family. The idea that creating and enjoying music together forms a unique bond between parent and child was the greater point.
I have to admit that I have been singing to my children since before they were born. From week 24 when they were supposed to be able to hear, I started in with a daily ritual of two songs, “Edelweiss” from the Sound of Music and “Goodnight, My Someone” from The Music Man. Yes, I am a musical theatre nut, but it doesn’t matter what kind of music is your thing…sing it out. Research has shown that babies find their own parents’ voices to be most comforting. My husband’s choice was the Beatles….he preferred to have our kids listen to the Fab Four on vinyl as toddlers.
Anyway, over the years, I have found that connection to music and specifically those songs to be of great comfort to my children and frankly, me, as we have faced the little bumps in the road. I have sung “Edelweiss” several times in the urgent care while various stitches or staples have been placed. I even made up a song for each child (I must admit I steal the melodies and fancy myself just a lyricist). But that is another topic for another blog.
What I really wanted to share with you is how powerful this musical connection can be even outside the walls of our home. Last fall, my 11 year old needed surgery to repair a hernia…nothing major, but still always a concern the first time your child has a general anesthetic.
As I stood in the OR watching his eyelids get heavy, the predicted request was whispered in a groggy voice, “Sing….” So I started in with “Edelweiss” and the next thing I knew the surgeon, the OR nurses and even the anesthesiologist were all quietly singing along as my son drifted to sleep. In that moment, tears came to my eyes because I knew my son was in caring hands.
Later, as I reflect upon that experience, I tear up for a different reason: the power of music to connect us to each other…even strangers. I will never see those people again, but for that moment we were all united in that intangible solace of music. As the song asks, “What would we be without it?” A little less human, I say. Share your experience with music and your children…I would love to hear from you.