Develop Attention Span of Your Child With Music. Part 6.
Formation of Attention from Conception up to 2 Years of Age.
A baby’s energy of attention is formed along with him from the first weeks of his existence. This energy is exclusively used to form central nervous system. After the baby is born, the energy is focused on "upgrading" existing neural connections associated with adaptation to the physical conditions of life on Earth.
We are used to thinking that a newborn “rests” while he is awake. In reality, his attention is absorbed by rather complex tasks: he works on adjusting his balancing skills developed in the womb, his sense of self in space, auditory, gustatory, tactile and other sensations to gravity, the new temperature environment, and the new space. Even the ability to laugh and cry at first presents a physical challenge for the baby's attention. First, he learns to cry or to smile and then learns to control his emotions.
Ability to think in abstract terms only starts to actively develop at the age of two, as the baby turns into a toddler.
Having learned to roll over from back to stomach and balance while sitting and standing, the toddler begins to move freely through space. The energy that used to be absorbed by the greater part of the development of motor skills in terms of gravity, is released to solve the problems of the superstructure. Now, the toddler's attention is fully ready for meaningful understanding of the world.
By 24 months, the toddler develops all the prerequisites for the development of fine motor skills.
This is why the intellectual development of toddlers should start with music lessons on keyboard instruments.
Echoic Memory and Attention of a Child
Babies begin to hear the sounds long before they are born. And once they are born, they immediately learn to reproduce them. Sometimes babies mimic intonations of adults so well that it gives us the impression that they utter the whole phrases.
Here is a small selection of babies’ videos who repeat a phrase “I love you” after adults.
Does this mean that babies actually talk? No, it doesn’t. Babies’ attention is directed towards temporary storage of unprocessed auditory information.
Comprehension is a kind of "attribution" of information received from the outside through uttering. A thought begins with uttering a word. If a phenomenon or an object does not get assigned a name and the name does not get to be uttered, the brain does not acknowledge their existence.
For example, if you want to remember a name or a word , you must repeat it .
"What is your name?" you ask a stranger.
"My name is John," you hear an answer.
“Hello, John! It's nice to meet you," you repeat his name in order to store it in your memory as an image composed of the external appearance of this particular "John," his smell, his movements, and the timbre of his voice.
The babies in the videos perceive and mimic the phrase “I love you” without understanding the meaning of each of the three uttered words. They do not even realize that they pronounce specific words. They just imitate the intonation.
Onomatopoeic attention of a student is extremely important at early stages of music education. This is how he is able to quickly learn solfeggio syllables, which serve as a bridge between his attention and musical notation as well as the piano keys.
Ask a student to repeat after you, “Do, do, sol, sol, la, la, sol.” You will see that he will do it effortlessly. Then put up the pictures of DDSSLLS letters and let your student look at them for a couple minutes. Mix up the letters and ask him to arrange them in the order they original were in without uttering the sounds of the letters.
Echoic memory will probably work faster than visual. Our attention knows that our vision can recall an image. That is why it is not worth expending energy on it. However, sounds need to be memorized as they are harder to recall. Knowing that, our attention tries to catch every single syllable.
In Hiner Method, each note is assigned a name, which is later tied to a particular location on the staves and the piano keys. Gradually working with the names of the notes as well as their corresponding sounds, the student organically develops a "perfect pitch," which in the future will help him direct attention not only to the recognition of musical sounds but also to intonations of speech in the study of foreign languages.