Parent Education
Week 15

Parental Involvement in Education is Crucial 

Why active parental involvement in music during infancy?

Is active participation in music really necessary during infancy? Why not put on The Wiggles? Educational infant videos are a growing market, which can reduce the pressures for busy parents. However, this can also reduce the number of those beneficial and special interactions between infant and parent. Infants observe and learn from their environment, including through social interaction, and a stimulating and nurturing environment helps mould an infants' mind. Through the Suzuki Method, both teachers and parents know an active parent-child relationship is crucial to the development of a child.

In 2012 David Gerry, Andrea Unrau and Laurel J. Trainor studied the effects of an active music classes on infants musical, communicative and social development. The study compared active music classes and passive music classes. The active music class followed the Suzuki Early Childhood Education (Suzuki ECE) curriculum with a weekly one hour group class plus home listening and engagement. In the Suzuki ECE classes the parent and child were encouraged to actively participate through singing, playing and movement. The passive music class consisted of synthesized classical music played in the background while parent and child were free to choose an activity from the five stations; art, books, balls, building blocks and stacking cups. The Suzuki ECE curriculum emphasised singing, movement, infant and parent bonding, repetition of set repertoire and active parental involvement in music making and infant development. The passive music class did not have a curriculum and focused more on free play.

The results of the study reiterated Dr Suzuki's belief that active parental involvement is critical. The infants who participated in the Suzuki ECE classes were found to respond better to communicative gestures, were easier to soothe and were found to be less distressed than the passive music class participants.

The following are some extracts from the discussion in their article:

"The results indicate that when appropriate pedagogical techniques are used, active music classes for infants and parents can accelerate infants' acquisition of culture-specific musical knowledge and can positively influence communication and social interaction between parents and infants. The present findings suggest that the infant brain might be particularly plastic with respect to musical expression.

Music educators debate the age at which it is appropriate to begin musical training and whether there is an optimal order as to when different musical skills should be introduced. The present results suggest that when parents are actively involved and materials appropriate for infants are utilised, musical training can profitably begin early in infancy.

Toy and educational companies have created musical recordings that require virtually no parent-infant interaction and rely for the most part on inexpressive, synthesized musical sounds, sometimes marketed as being beneficial for infant development. However, one study on the effects of the popular Baby Einstein(tm) videos found that infants did not learn words highlighted in the videos in the absence of parental interaction(From: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Journal 164: Word learning from baby videos by Richert, Robb, Fender and Wartella.). Music media aimed at busy parents with young children have sometimes become a substitute for infant-parent interaction involving the singing of lullabies and playsongs. Our results suggest that active participation are crucial to fully realising musical, communicative and social benefits of musical experience in early development."

"Children learn to smile from their parents." Dr Suzuki

For full article see: Developmental Science Journal 15:3: Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development by David Gerry, Andrea Unrau and Laurel J. Trainor.

Ahna Jensen
Registered Suzuki Violin Teacher
Accredited Suzuki ECE Teacher
BMus | BA (Hons) | PhD Candidate

Prenatal Music Stimulation Booklet

Twinkling Tots Handbook

Pre-Twinklers Handbook
Week 1 - 'The Goal'

Welcome to the Let’s Twinkle Suzuki Early Childhood Education programme. I’m very pleased to begin you and your child’s musical journey together.

Week 2 - Every Child Can
"Every child has the potential to develop amazing ability"
Dr Suzuki - Young Children's Talent Education and Its Method
Week 3 - Parent involvement in education is crucial
"The fate of the child is in the hands of the parent."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero
Week 4 - Why Music?

"Our purpose does not lie in a movement to create professional musicians, but to create persons of a beautiful mind and fine ability." Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love

Week 5 - Environment Nurtures Growth
"Talent is not inherited or inborn but has to be educated and developed."
Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love
Week 6 - Encouragement is Essential
"Where love is deep, much can be accomplished"
Dr Suzuki
Week 7 - Success breeds Success
"Develop ability from what a child can already do and that ability will promote the happiness of doing things better and better. An unlimited amount of ability can develop when parent and child are having fun together. It is simple but often overlooked."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero
Week 8 - Children Learn from one another
“The social reward of a supportive parent or adult (or other child) will speed the learning and remove doubt about what constitutes success in a child's learning experience. No encouragement negates the fundamental reward of success in any learning experience. It is possible for the physical environment to provide the reward necessary but if there is no encouragement from any aspect, the learning is not complete.”
Dorothy Jones
Week 9 - Ability Develops Early

"There is no telling to what heights children can attain if we educate them properly right after birth."

Dr Suzuki - Nurtured by Love

Week 10 - Babies 'cry in Mother's Tongue'

BBC News Article

Week 11 - The Power of Music
The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people
Article by Susan Hallam
Week 12 - The Benefits of Music

The Benefits of Music on Child Development
By Jovanka Ciares and Paul Borgese

Week 13 - Rhyme Time

Babies love rhymes...

Week 14 - Child Development Chart

Every child is unique and develops at their own pace. This is a rough guide to your child's likely musical development.


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