Our mornings always began with Raag Bhairav, you knew it was time to wake up when Pt. Jasraj belted out ‘Jaago Mohan Pyaare’ on the cassette player. Getting ready to go to school was always equated with the “AIR FM radio” jingle. As we grew older, every word had a rhythmic or melodic association – the mathematical tables had taal, the days of the week had swar, the dates of the independence struggle in our history textbooks had a tune that we’d hum all day. Everything we did had a sound or rhythm that we associated it with. We didn’t think too much of it; growing up in a musical family meant that music was innately a part of our daily lives.
Looking back, we realised that, while for us, growing up was full of fun, games and music, there was so much that we imbibed through the use of this art form. It became the means for communication and expression, a language we could use to connect with each other, and also a mnemonic device that we continue to use. Studying Indian Music also meant having a deeper connection with our culture and tradition. Understanding what it did for us while we were growing up was the ignition we needed to kickstart “The Sound Space” – everyone should grow up like this!
Scientific experiments have proven that sound and music have far-reaching effects on cognition and the development of the brain. Research has shown that it impacts the development of motor skills, social-emotional skills, language skills and also one’s overall literacy. It helps to strengthen memory skills, practice self expression – the list goes on. But what it does, most importantly is, it gives us joy. From the time that a child is in the womb, sound plays an important role in their lives. As an infant, listening to and recognising the voice of their parents.. to a toddler that uses music and repetition as a means to enhance memory and language skills, to preschoolers who are finding their voice and singing non stop. As they grow up, older children and teenagers use music as expression as also a means to form friendships.
There is no doubt that growing up with music has innumerable cognitive and developmental benefits. Rhythm is in every part of one’s life, we just have to become aware of it. Some fun games you can play with your children are to listen for sounds and rhythm in daily activities. This helps prime their senses and explore a part of their creativity through simple day to day events. Some fun ways to practice this could be; While taking a walk – you can put your footsteps into a steady rhythm – this helps the brain to regulate its signals encouraging development. At the beach – listen for the timing of the waves as they lash against the sand, in the pool – practice your strokes with a song. Another exploration could be of sounds I can create – be it on my own body, through snaps, claps, clicks and stomps, or on a table or chair. There really is music everywhere when you start looking for it.
Parents often ask us, what should my child be listening to? What kind of music is good or not so good for my child. Children often grow up with the sounds and music their parents are exposed to. Maybe now is the time to start making more conscious sound choices – what to listen to, when.. Science has found that different kinds of music, instruments and frequencies have different effects on the left and right brain development. For example, stringed instruments like the violin, sitar, sarangi etc enhance the right side of the brain that controls creativity and expression. So when your child is drawing for art class, or writing an essay for language, that is the music that will help light up the parts of the brain that are used for that. On the other hand, percussion instruments like the tabla, drums and so on help to enhance the left side of the brain that controls the mathematical, logical parts
Through our experiences we found that learning anything musically is easier, more effective and definitely more fun.
But most importantly we found that music is a life-long companion. On the worst days, music provides a gentle hand in consolation of our feelings, making it easier to deal with whatever situation we’re going through. On the best days, it brings happiness and a beautiful rhythm echoes throughout our heart and mind. It has the power to convey emotions that words alone cannot express.
We were so lucky to have grown up in a home full of love, expression and music. It is our vision to make sure every child in our country has access to it’s immense power and magical effects.
Kamakshi and Vishala Khurana are founders of The Sound Space. An unimaginable sister duo, their roots stem from their musical childhood. Both sisters have completed their Visharad degrees from the University of Lucknow along with degrees in Psychology. At “The Sound Space”, Kamakshi and Vishala work on sound and its immense power and therapeutic aspects. They promote Indian Classical music amongst children and youngsters in a fun and approachable fashion.
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