West Berkshire Family Life

Rhythm is life!

A guest blog by Lizzie from Boogie Mites West Berkshire & South Oxfordshire 🎵

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Rhythm is life – weaving brain-boosting music-making into everyday family life!

Lizzie from Boogie Mites West Berkshire and South Oxfordshire is passionate about enabling children to access fun, engaging music-making from the earliest age possible. She works with families, nurseries, and preschools, delivering music-making sessions for children from babies through to 5 years old.

Here she is to explain why…

💜 Making music is a whole-brain activity:

Research has shown that when we make music, we use every area of our brain – making it really powerful for supporting so many areas of our children’s development: early literacy & maths skills, gross & fine motor development, emotional regulation, self-confidence & self-esteem, creativity…. to name just a few! (If you’d like to find out more about this, Boogie Mites’ Parent Information sheet is a great place to start!) 

💜 Music makes us feel good and builds a sense of community:

We know from many scientific studies that when we make music and/or move with other people, it triggers the release of beneficial chemicals: oxytocin (‘the love hormone’), serotonin, dopamine and even immunoglobin (which improves the body’s immune system).  It leaves us feeling uplifted and connected to the people we’ve shared the experience with, promoting social bonding.

💜 This sounds great.. but I’m not musical..

The Boogie Mites ethos is rooted in a belief that EVERYONE is born musical.  Think about it – so much of our daily life is built around rhythm: from our heart beats, to our breathing; when we walk or run, there’s a rhythmic pattern; and of course our speech has rhythm, as well as pitch-variation and melody.  In fact, there’s a body of research that suggests music even came BEFORE language (based on archaeological evidence and what we know about infant development and language acquisition).

Boogie Mites is ALL about empowering parents, carers and practitioners with the knowledge, skills and confidence to support the children they care for with regular music-making.  Coming along to a music class is great for this – but the real power of music for children’s development and well-being lies in weaving micro-musical-moments into daily life.

💜 This sounds like I might need to buy things..

Definitely not!  Here are some simple, free music-making ideas you can try out with your child:

1.  Use your voice!  Our voices are our first musical instruments (and the most incredibly diverse and complex sound-makers!) If you’re not a confident singer, it doesn’t matter – firstly, your child LOVES to hear your voice, and secondly, if you’re not confident, speaking or chanting rhythmically is still music.  Pick a song you love, and sing (and move) along with your child – it doesn’t matter what: nursery rhyme, something from a Disney film or musical, drum & bass, heavy metal.. What counts is that it makes you feel good – your child is going to LOVE seeing you let loose, and want to join in too! It’s a great way to boost that sense of connection and bonding, leaving you both feeling uplifted.

2.  Mirroring: Children LOVE it when we copy what they do – it gives them confidence, validation, and a sense of control. Even with young babies, repeating back the vocal sounds they make is a wonderful way to connect, and to help them develop their own self-expression, and encourage them to practise using their voice.

3.  Turn routine instructions into music: Children naturally tune into a sing-song voice (sometimes called ‘motherese’), more so than our less-varied adult speech. Time to wrestle your toddler into their coat? Try singing (or chanting) your instruction – it brings a bit of humour to the situation, and they’re more likely to listen* It can be a really simple, familiar tune: think along the lines of the ‘it’s raining, it’s pouring’ melody (LOADS of children’s songs use this sol-mi interval, like the sound of a police siren ‘nee-nah’, because it’s easy for young children to hear and sing).

4.  Found Sounds’ One of my favourite things is exploring sounds that we can make using everyday objects. Your little one loving the jangling your home or car keys might well be familiar! Banging on pots & pans with a wooden spoon – tried and tested by generations of families! What else can you find round your home, or out and about to tap, scrunch, rustle or scrape? It’s a brilliant way to develop your child’s listening skills, discriminating different types of sounds and describing them. You could use your new-found instruments to jam along to a favourite tune!

5.  Make a shaker: Probably THE most straightforward musical instrument – you can turn an empty bottle or container into a shaker so easily, with a handful of dried rice, pasta, lentils or beans. Older children LOVE making these themselves (and it’s a great activity for developing maths concepts like size and capacity). Shakers are easy to pop into your changing bag too (and a great distractor for nappy changes!) Make a couple of shakers, and you can play ‘musical conversations’ with your child: make a sound with your shaker, pause, and wait for them to respond with their shaker (with young children, we often need to leave plenty of time for them to respond). It’s a great way to support communication skills, and accessible to children long before they can verbalise themselves.

So there you go – just a few simple, no-cost music-making ideas. 
And if you’d like to see a bit more of what we get up to at Boogie Mites, we would love to welcome you along to one of our sessions!  You’ll find a warm welcome, and a friendly, supportive and relaxed atmosphere – whatever kind of day you’re having (and we know those early years of parenthood have many ups & downs!) – we hope that you’ll come away from our sessions feeling connected and uplifted.

You can find out more and book on our website HERE.

We’d love to welcome you along!


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**Boogie Mites West Berkshire is offering our members 15% off their first block booking of classes!**

Click HERE to become a West Berkshire Family Life member.

The West Berkshire Family Life membership card is kindly sponsored by Swimkidz Berks/Hants/Wilts

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