Why Teach Children to Keep a Beat?
There have been multiple studies that show how music benefits children’s social, emotional, and intellectual growth. Recent studies, though, have shown that kids gain similar skills by learning to keep a beat. A study found in The Journal of Neuroscience addresses this exact idea. “Accurate beat-keeping’s implications for reading and language skills simply make sense, according to the co-authors. ‘Rhythm is an integral part of both music and language,’ Kraus says. ‘And the rhythm of spoken language is a crucial cue to understanding'” (medicalxpress.com). I have seen this as I have watched and heard my two-year-old talk more and more. Sometimes he will talk fast, and at intervals slow down to catch his breath. It makes understanding him more difficult. When he tries to sing along with songs, though, he follows the beat and takes his time when pronouncing his words. And this is how learning to keep a beat can be a great aid in language learning.
Learning to keep to keep a beat also helps to grow a child’s social skills. “Many physical activities have a beat – walking, jumping, running, hopping, skipping, kicking and so on. Mastering these skills enables your child to play more sophisticated games with other children, which gives them opportunities to make friends, which in turn encourages them to develop social skills and increases their enjoyment of life” (activebabiessmartkids.com). All of this, from keeping a beat? Yet it does make sense. Beats make up so much of our movements, whether we consciously recognize it or not. And, since a large part of socializing is communication, learning to keep a beat helps children communicate better with one another.
Keeping the Beat at Building Kidz
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, music is crucial to the Building Kidz curriculum and atmosphere. We hold fast to the idea that music, and beats, are great assets in developing the whole child. We take studies like the above ones seriously, and do our best to implement them daily in our classrooms. We have weekly music classes from qualified teachers (at no extra cost). And, music is worked into our teachers’ lesson plans each and every day. Children use rhythm sticks, tambourines, and their hands as they learn the significant skill of keeping a beat.