Learning the language of music: is it child’s play?

The Italian Reggio Emilia approach is now considered the most progressive and desirable early-childhood educational approach in the world. These schools value children’s innate abilities and nurture artistic and creative intelligences through play-based emersion in the “poetic languages” such as visual arts, music, poetry, dance, drama or photography. But how might a particular language, such as music, be taught in playful and natural ways that honor a child’s inborn abilities for language learning?

Careful observation of children’s musical development has shown that it is never too early for musical learning. Musical aptitude may actually begin in the womb. According to music psychologist Donald Hodges there may be specific genetic instructions in the brain that make the mind and body predisposed to be musical, “Just as we are born with the means to be linguistic, to learn the language of our culture, so we are born with the means to be responsive to the music of our culture.” Neuroscientists even have claimed evidence that babies are wired for music from birth. This “wiring” forms as the fetus responds to outside voices, music, and sounds from deep within the womb. These neurological mechanisms may also have an embedded relationship with language.


Read also: Reggio Emilia approach

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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