Sing For Your Life!

28 Aug 2015 Posted by: Sarah Marsh

As a mum to three and step-mum to two (yes, it’s a busy house!), I know how important it is to find fun and worthwhile things to do with children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to hot-house them, I’m not interested in rearing geniuses – but I am interested in my children growing up as happy and interesting human beings – with lots of experiences behind them that will shape their future!

So, given all of that, what really counts? I have two things I think really matter. The first is singing and music-making. The second is swimming! As a musician and teacher, I’m going to talk about the singing – someone else, better qualified than me, will tell you about the swimming!

So – when to start the singing... how about when your baby is still in the womb? Have a song that you love – play it frequently and, yes, sing along – your baby will not only respond, but will be sure to recognise it after the birth – a reassuring sound in a new world!

Talking of reassuring, your voice (mum, dad and others close to your baby) is far more important than any professional musician – so it is YOU that needs to do the singing. Your baby needs to hear you – quite literally music to their ears!

When you have a new baby, it’s a good idea to join a group where you can sing – no need for trendy gimmicks, flashing lights and loud drums – just somewhere where you can go to learn some new songs, get some great ideas for singing at home, and enjoy your baby’s company. It’s a great place to meet other new families too – lasting friendships are built in classes like these – I know from first-hand experience.

Socially, music classes are great – children will make friends, parents will too – and it’s a relaxing place to go with your baby. Even if they feed or sleep through the class, the music will still go in, and you will come home equipped with new ideas and songs.

Educationally (I know I said I don’t “hot-house” children – but here are the facts) music does so much for children. The repetition in a song is an essential part of learning. In the context of singing and rhyming, none of this sounds like nagging, or gets boring – so be confident that learning is more memorable through music. Music is essentially playful – and therefore pleasurable.

So, as songs are sung about body parts, the world around us, numbers, movement etc, you can be certain that learning is going on behind the scenes. Your children are becoming flexible, adaptable learners with increased confidence, strong language skills and a readiness for starting school – it is a win-win situation.

Joining a music class isn’t always cheap – but if you find a good one, it is money well spent and more lasting than a trip to the local coffee shop (where you may well spend more!).

I set up Musical Bumps classes when my children were tiny – we are still going strong and new Musical Bumps classes strive for excellence and are popping up across the UK. Many years of experience tells me that, whilst music classes won’t teach your child to swim, for everything else, you won’t do better than to sing!


Sarah Marsh is a teacher and advisory teacher for Music in the early and primary years. More information about Musical Bumps can be found at

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