“I learned that it’s OK not to be shy.”

6 Apr

Last week, I gave a presentation on early childhood music development to a group of grown-ups (pre-school parents and teachers) in Jersey City, NJ. At one point, we all sang “Clap Your Hands” (doing all sorts of clapping, tapping, beeping, and stomping together). After the song I asked: “If you can imagine that you all were children during that song, what do you think you were learning?” The group gave a variety of answers — all pretty profound — but the one that has stuck with me is this, from a mom: “I learned that it’s OK not to be shy.”

Wow.

I learned from her that, whether we are children or adults, when we are allowed to play — to just be silly and goofy in our music-making, regardless of whether or not we’re “doing it right” — then it feels safe to make a sound, make a movement, experiment, and explore. When we provide this kind of supportive, informal, play-based environment — in a Music Together class and at home — we are giving our children a safe space to be musical in their own way.

Keep making music at home in that kind of goofy, silly, non-judgmental way — it’s a huge gift to your children (and to you!).

[A NOTE ABOUT BEING “SHY:” Some children — and grown-ups — will certainly be what we call “shy” in class (or in other settings). I think that the Jersey City mom was talking more about risk-taking than actual shyness. For my own shy child, at Music Together she was able to take her own kind of risks — like leaving my lap to get an instrument, or making eye contact with the teacher — because she felt so supported in the class setting. However, she never stopped being “shy.”]

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One Response to ““I learned that it’s OK not to be shy.””

  1. liontamar April 6, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    great post!!

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