Ways to “Catch a Beat” with Babies

Babies tapLap Babies:    must EXPERIENCE beat in a variety of ways.  They must feel it ON their body or WITH their body.  When they feel the beat from you in coordination with music they are learning both through HEARING and FEELING, as well as feeling a positive emotion from the experience because YOU are doing it WITH them.  Here are some fun ideas to try.

 ·         Adult stands and sway from side to side (this provides an added vestibular bonus).

·         Sit in a chair or on the floor and rock forward & back or side to side.

·         Bounce or trot on knees, ankles, arms, shoulders, or back.

·         Tap fingers, or Pat hands to a steady beat on different parts of their body (FOOT, tummy, arm, leg, back etc.)  

·         While holding child, walk with a steady bouncy step, or even gallop !

·         Place child on a surface that will vibrate, like a bouncy chair, then pat your hands on the surface.

·         Play music with a definite steady beat through the stereo and hold child while placed on top of the stereo speaker (if speaker is an appropriate size).

·         At night, use a flashlight to show the beat on the wall (a visual bouncing ball). 

Crawlers:   continue to EXPERIENCE beat, and PRACTICE movement, not neccesarily beat.  Children at this age are learning HOW to move their body – and must complete this process before learning to move their body to a beat.  Although many crawlers like to move back and forth to the beat in the crawling position when music is playing.

·         Encourage using their hands to clap or pat using the whole hand.   Start the clapping process with their hands, then let go and see if they will continue.

·         Use the slower steady beat while swinging in a swing.  Try to keep the swing at a consistent pace.   Try “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” or “Humpty Dumpty”

·         See your household items in a totally new way – natural and handy instruments to tap on the floor, clap together, shake, or squeeze out a beat of sounds.  They are going to get anything they can reach anyway; make it a learning experience.  If an object is innappropriate for them to play with, use this activity to slowly transfer the object from their hands to yours and continue while putting it away.  Hold their hand AND the object and start a beat.  “Let’s make a steady beat and watch it float away… “  Perhaps that object can “FIND” another more appropriate object for them to play with, and the steady beat can make it’s way BACK to baby with the new object they can play with.

·         Have a specific box at floor level for basic percussion instruments – purchased and homemade.  (Please make sure they are all safe to explore alone.)  Rhythm sticks, shakers, bells, rattles, drums.  When you see your child really interested in a particular object, pick up a similar object and begin a beat.  After establishing a beat, start chanting a rhyme or singing a song.  

Use both hands together to pound beat on ground, pillows, bed, garbage can lids, chairs, couches, bean bags, cardboard boxes, etc.

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  1. Developmental progression of a Steady Beat « Music Connections - [...] Ways to Catch a Beat with Babies [...]
  2. Developmental progression of Steady Beat « Music Connections - [...] Ways to Catch a Beat with Babies [...]
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