Little Music Makers: Chinese New Year Tin Can Drum
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How Storytelling Benefits Your Child
November 5, 2016
Storytelling is an activity that many parents do with their children, and we recommend storytelling sessions as often as possible. Why? This may seem like an ordinary activity, something as simple as reading aloud from a book. However, this very activity helps your child to learn and grow! Through storytelling, children improve on their literacy skills, becoming familiar with sounds, words and language proficiency. But do you know that storytelling impacts children in more ways than just gaining and building up on these skills?
Read on to find out how storytelling can benefit your child!
The story of Three Little Pigs used during a session of the A Little Beat class for 2 to 4 year olds!
Why is it that we remember things better when they’re told to us as a narrative? Ask yourself this, which can you recall better? An embarrassing story about someone your friend once told you, or a math equation that your teacher repeatedly taught you when you were in school. I’d make a guess that it’s the former.
Stories stick in your mind longer than math equations do because they’re interesting and the human brain creates images in your mind based on the story. What’s fascinating is researchers in Spain found that while listening to a story, the human brain is actively processing it as if we’re experiencing the events of the story too.
What this means is that if you’re listening to a story with metaphors such as “silky-smooth hands”, the sensory cortex (responsible for processing texture through touch) of your brain is actually active. This is why the experience of reading a story or listening to one can feel so alive! And that makes stories so memorable because it feels like we’ve experienced it ourselves.
As such, storytelling is a great tool to use to teach your child other things as it is interesting and memorable. A little tip for you parents out there: use stories to teach your child lessons. Whether it is about math, english, music, or life lessons, using stories will help them remember the content better!
For example, at My Piano Room, we use storytelling during our piano lessons and music appreciation courses to teach our students about music concepts and notes and we’ve found it to be very effective! Students remember the characters we’ve created in our stories and are able to link them to musical concepts. They are even able to recall certain details and be easily reminded on the music topics when our teachers repeat the stories.
Imagination and creativity
Being creative is easier if one has a huge imagination. And what better way to encourage imagination than through stories! Stories are manifestations of a teller’s imagination and creativity. The listener likewise has to exercise his or her creativity to imagine the world of the story being told to them as there are no visuals to refer to. They have no reference as to how a character looks, or how the setting of the story looks. Basically, everything is up to their own minds!
So encourage creativity in your little one by telling them stories! Let them be free to piece together their own imaginative world. Additionally, you can get them to draw out scenes of the stories and allow their creativity and imagination to take form!
Playing the piano can be made more fun and engaging by asking your child to imagine a certain scenario, animal or mood while playing a piece of music. Telling stories through music makes it enjoyable and novel for the child. At My Piano Room, we have had students who played the same song for several weeks and each week, embellished on the story or made up new stories while playing the piece over and over again!
Theory of mind
A theory of mind is what scientists call the capacity of the human brain to compose an outline of other people’s intentions. Now how does storytelling in particular help to develop a strong theory of mind? Scientists have found that individuals who are frequent readers of fiction seem to be able to put themselves in other people’s shoes and understand others better.
It is likely because through narratives, we identify with the characters in the story, and it’s an avenue for us to pick up some perception of social skills through the interactions among characters.
In essence, what this means is that stories allow children to develop a strong sense of others! And this is especially helpful for your child as he or she grows up with a broadened perspective and understanding.
With the above benefits in mind, it’s good to start the habit of telling stories or perhaps start small with reading aloud from books to your child. Storytelling has great potential for children to develop important skills and at the same time, engaging and interesting for them.
Storytelling is an integral component of our lessons at My Piano Room as this makes for a fun and memorable learning experience! We have found that creating mini stories in class or in songs, enables our students to remember and retain certain musical concepts easily!
So likewise, take some time off everyday to tell your little one a story. If you are worried about keeping your young audience captivated and that your storytelling skills may not be effective, be not discouraged! Storytelling skills can be learnt! Stay tuned for our next post on tips to improve your storytelling skills!