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Musical behavior of a child
ages between 0 and 4

Birth to 4 Months

Awareness of music starts almost immediately.

The baby may show his or her early awareness by responding differently to different kind of music; the baby quiets himself or herself to a soothing lullaby and becomes more active when lively music is played.

4 - 8 Months

Musical awareness becomes more active.

The baby now enjoys listening intently to all types of sounds in the environment.

The baby begins showing more active awareness of musical sounds by turning his or her head or face toward the source of music

10 - 18 Months

Expression of musical preferences begin.
The infant may begin indicating the types of music he or she likes best.
Many at this age prefer vocal to instrumental – as well as showing clear displeasure at music she or he doesn’t like. Infant rocks or sways its hips to familiar tunes, although not necessarily in time with music, and claps hands to a pleasing song.

18 months to 2 Years

Exploration of musical sounds increases.

Sounds in the environment continue to captivate the toddler.

Developing language skills and increasing mobility allow the toddler to seek out sounds that please him or her the most. The toddler may especially enjoy music on daily TV or radio programs or commercials and may watch with fascination as a family member plays a musical instrument. 

2 to 3 Years

Dance begins.

The toddler now attempts to "dance" to music by bending his or her knees in a bouncing motion, turning circles, swaying, swinging his or her arms, nodding his or her head.

The toddler especially likes a marked rhythm, so band music, nursery songs or catchy TV jingles may be favorites.

The toddler shows an increasing ability to keep time and to follow directions in musical games, which he or she loves.

Toddlers can now pay attention for longer periods. While easily distracted in the past, he or she can now lie or sit down quietly and listen for several minutes at a time.

3 1/2 to 4 Years

Self-expression through music increases.

At this stage, very significantly change takes place.

As the child listens, he or she is increasingly aware of some of the components that make up his or her favorite music.

The child may love to dramatize songs and may also enjoy trying out different ways of interpreting music (for example, experimenting with different rhythms). The child shows marked improvement in keeping the beat, although he or she is still not always entirely accurate. Music is now an important means for expression and communication of ideas and emotions that may be beyond the level of developed language skills.

4 to 5 Years

Ability to discuss musical experience expands.

By now, the child can talk about what a piece of music suggests to him or her, and the child is able to tell you in greater detail what he or she is hearing.This is the stage of the active listener.

With encouragement, the child's desire to listen to music will increase.

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