5 signs your child is musically talented
Most children show interest in music: they enjoy singing nursery rhymes, clapping their hands, stomping their feet, and listening to their favorite tutes over and over again. So is there a way to tell if your child is naturally gifted? We have all heard about a few child geniuses that learned to play instruments even before they could read. How can you spot a naturally gifted child from the rest? And most importantly, why should you?
First, let’s find out the 5 signs that musically talented children usually display from a tender age (sometimes while they are still babies or toddlers).
#1: They really feel the music
Many children enjoy music and will move their arms and legs; or shake their little bodies, etc. when they hear a song or a rhythm. But musically gifted children will spend more than usual without losing the beat. While others may start running around, doing funny noises, or simply losing interest, these children will spend an unusual length of time listening to the song, keeping up the beat, or dancing along. It is like they actually feel the rhythm with their bodies!
Besides, musically gifted children tend to display emotional responses towards certain pieces of music. Does a sad piece make your little one weep? Perhaps this means she can feel and understand the music on a deeper level than her peers.
#2: They pay attention to music and sounds all around them
A naturally gifted child may be more aware than others to specific sounds, not only musical but any sound at all. If your 3-year-old ever asks you about the dog, and only after carefully listening you can spot the distant bark outdoors, or if your child gets scared when they walk by the butchery because he was frightened once from the noise of the meat cutting machine, their hearing abilities are probably particularly well-developed. Sometimes, these little children echo sounds they hear in the background (a car alarm, an ambulance passing by, a bird tweeting, etc).
Of course, if they catch up with a few notes when you are changing the TV channels or the radio stations, they will immediately recognize the song. But that’s not it. These children can also find rhythmic patterns in daily life: the way the spoon sound when you stir their drink, for example, could take them back to a specific song they heard.
#3: They sing along
Matching pitch is a clear indicator of great music sensitivity. If your child immediately picks after a song and sings along, that’s one of the most certain indicators for their gift. Be careful: a child doesn’t need to display a “perfect pitch” (the ability to recognize a single note, even to name it, by heart), just a good relative pitch is enough to become a great musician and it can be hard for adults!
Singing the right notes on a melody is already impressive, but what would you say if I tell you some children can also harmonize a song? That is another great indicator of a particularly rare musical talent: creating a harmony when they sing with you or with other children.
#4: They can play instruments by ear
Some little children display natural abilities as soon as they are given access to musical instruments. Sit one of these children in front of the piano, and not only will she spend a long time experimenting with the notes, but she will also soon be able to play by herself simple little tunes, such as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”. Once these children are receiving formal musical instruction, they can easily learn new songs all by themselves.
In any case, it doesn’t matter if your child is naturally gifted or not, because it is always a good idea to let them experiment with musical instruments, play them, touch them, and enjoy them. If they cannot play by ear, they can still find them amusing, and be interested in taking music lessons, which provide all kinds of cognitive benefits for them!
#5: They notice when something is wrong!
This is a simple experiment you can perform to see if a young child shows signs of natural musical skills: try singing one of their favorite songs and change something in the melody, or repeat a little part. It doesn’t have to be about the lyrics but the musical notes. They will probably notice, and sometimes even correct you!
And that’s not all. Not only do naturally gifted children show interest in good music, but they react to bad performances as well! If you intentionally sing a song in the wrong pitch, or play it in your instrument (for instance, playing some chords in your guitar before you tune it), or you make your gifted child listen to a terrible out-of-tune performance (there are many of them in YouTube), they will probably cringe! Even if they cannot explain it with words, they may feel like there’s something wrong with what they just heard.
So there you are! Here we have explored 5 possible indicators that your child is musically talented. If you find out that they are potential little prodigies, it may be a great idea to sign them up for music lessons as soon as possible. Not for them to become rich and famous, of course, but to encourage this natural talent and create in them a true everlasting love for music!
But if they aren’t different from the average child when it comes to music, don’t feel discouraged! Any “normal” person can become a talented musician with enough time and practice. Many talented musicians were not gifted children, but people who tried hard enough to become successful. And the other way round is true as well: if your child shows signs of musical awareness, but you push them beyond their desires, they may end up disliking music and wasting their natural abilities. The bottom line is music is something your child should enjoy, not some strange talent they are born with or without.