The Musical Pacifier

13 Feb

CAUGHT IN CLASS

Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed four babies/toddlers sucking pacifiers in rhythm to the music we’re making in class. There’s a lot of cultural pressure in our society for parents to “un-plug” children with pacifiers, so I try to reassure grownups that it is OK for their little ones to keep pacifiers (or nursing moments, or thumb-sucking) during music time. But, sometimes those parents and caregivers need extra reinforcement. Well, here it is: For pre-verbal children, pacifiers are great in music class! As we sing and move to the beat around these little ones, our music stimulates their brains and bodies. And since these children clearly have a natural need to suck, a key way that they join in is through their mouths. And, doesn’t this make sense? When we grownups sing, our mouths are totally in action, so the pacifier-children participate with their mouths, in their way. I’m lucky that I know what to look for, because when I see a pacifier bouncing up and down to the microbeat or hear a baby humming the resting tone of the song we’re singing, I get a little thrill. And you can get that thrill, too! The next time your child has a pacifier in class and you’re worried that she can’t participate if she’s “plugged up,” take a breath and look for pacifier-beats, or lean in close to hear a pacifier-hum. Then, relax and know that your child’s music isn’t being plugged up at all.

Want more on this subject? Check out one of my previous posts on pacifiers in music class. 

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