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Music Teacher

Music can be a good teacher too. Here's how you can use music to teach your child a number of things and stimulate her brain.

Many scientists believe there is a real connection between music and math. Language is controlled by the left brain, and music, math and spatial understanding, by the right. So exercising your child's ear for music could help improve mathematical aptitudes.

Spend time focusing on music. Listen in short stretches, maybe lying down on the sofa together. Introduce your child to different kinds of music- instrumental, jazz, classical, folk as well as pop. Help her identify different instruments - flute, piano, drums and understand the beat.

One, two, three

Free dancing helps a child recognize the rhythm and builds coordination from a very young age. Choose music with a swinging rhythm and sway with your child in your arms. Or let him stand on your feet. See if he can tap out the beat himself.

Mirror dance

Here's a simple copy-cat game that stretches your child's observation skills. Choose dance music and move, encouraging your child to imitate your dance as precisely as possible. Keep the dance slow to begin with and try variations like jerky movements and jumps as your child gains confidence.

Whisper loud

Ask your child to sing a familiar song as a whisper and then aloud. Of the songs she knows which sound better sung softly or loudly? An older child may even be able to swap midway through the song.

Musical stories

Tell a favourite, familiar story, and ask your child to provide for the sound track. For Cinderella, she could make the sounds of squeaky rats, twittering birds, horse carriages and a waltz. An older child can make up scary, exciting or soothing tunes to go with the story.

Air instruments

This draws attention to how musical instruments are played. Pretend you are a band and there are a lot of instruments. Start playing an instrument and ask your child to guess which. You can help by making the sounds of the instrument or giving a clue (you bang it with a stick). Good instruments to mime are guitars, piano, drums and a violin. Give your child a turn and you do the guessing.

Making instruments

Shake dals in a bottle, or make a drum with a tin with a lid. Blowing through a sweet wrapper or banging two bowls make for an interesting band. Tap the rim of your glass with a spoon. Anklets lend an interesting sound to the mix.

Identifying sounds

The best way to encourage your child to listen well is to help her identify sounds. Encourage her to listen the sounds outside: birdsong, children playing, the wind on the leaves, the rain. See if you can count ten sounds together - the fan, a car passing outside, the clock ticking…

Take a selection of things that make sounds and ask her to close her eyes and identify them: crackle a newspaper, flick through a book.

Ask her to close her eyes while you creep to another part of the room and make a sound. She has to point out the direction she thinks you are. When she opens her eyes, let her see how close she was.

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