We all know that singing, whether in public or in the shower, makes us feel good and its many benefits have been scientifically proven. It can reduce stress, boost our mood, and even our immune system. Singing can be good for mental wellbeing and, when we do it in groups, our sense of belonging. I don’t need any convincing about the power of song. It’s been a massive part of my career from the very beginning.
Kids need a strong beat
I started out, thirty years ago, playing traditional nursery rhymes, but soon realised that children move better to a stronger beat – tracks with a fast tempo and driving rhythm. With this in mind, I developed ‘Big Songs for Little Ones’ – music aimed at children but made with adult production values. The mood boosting soundtracks had everyone moving, whilst the lyrics taught children all about the world around them – about diversity, kindness, and hope. It was ahead of its time, truly ground-breaking, and Amazon’s top selling funky kids’ album for four years running.
Repetition is powerful
Working closely with young children also taught me the power of repetition when it comes to learning and development. Repetition is something children crave, and when they do this to a beat, the results are mind-blowing. With this in mind, I teamed up with composer Andrew McCrorie-Shand, who created the Teletubbies theme tune to produce a second album of songs – Fun, Fitness and Music. I didn’t stop there and over recent years I’ve taught children how to properly wash their hands, brush their teeth, drink more water, and share – all through music.
I’m writing this blog because I want to share my experience and show people the impact song can have on learning and development, and why I believe it’s one of the most powerful things we can do with our children.
Never too early to start
Singing to babies even before they’re born has a proven link to educational success in later life, but why stop there? Studies have shown that one of the biggest benefits of singing is the repeated use of the ‘memory muscle.’ If children learn information attached to a tune, they’re much more likely to remember it. Most children learn the alphabet by singing it, rather than by saying the letters. My own daughter learnt her times tables so quickly by rapping them, and even now, as she embarks on a midwifery career, she’s making up songs to revise to. Singing may make remembering easier, but it can also make light work of learning. Children don’t see singing as ‘work’, which makes them more willing to participate, especially when they find the subject matter hard.
Let’s move to the beat
Singing is energising, which let’s face it, is something we all need. You know yourself that when you hear music you feel the need to move, and children are the same. Moving teaches them about their amazing bodies, increases self-confidence, and helps develop social, emotional, and communication skills.
It’s free, and feels good
But perhaps most importantly, singing whether alone, or as a group, makes us all feel good. It connects and unites us. It’s free, accessible, and something that everyone of us – whether we believe it or not – can do.
So, what are you waiting for? Give it a go. You don’t need to turn your life into the Frozen soundtrack, but by singing with your children, whatever their age, you’re creating shared memories and helping them become healthier, happier individuals.