X is for Xylophone! - Celebrating World Music Day

Today is world music day, and what better way to celebrate than to explore one of the best-loved instruments around! For many, the xylophone is where the magic of music-making begins. Xylophones influence early learning at an extraordinary level. They inspire creativity, enable self-expression, develop concentration and encourage positive mental health. And this only scratches the surface! With so much to discover, let’s tune in to the wonders of the xylophone.

 

The Invention of the Xylophone

The earliest versions of modern-day xylophones are believed to have been around as early as the 9th century. Used across the globe, they have taken on many forms in their time. Some of the simplest versions even involved the body! The leg xylophone was created by placing several wooden bars across the lap and playing. Despite its early discovery, the xylophone only became recognised as an orchestral instrument in the 19th century, also known as the century of percussion.

Across the globe, the xylophone has been given many different uses and names. From entertaining royalty to protecting crops: the xylophone is even used to create obscure sound effects in movies!

 

Early Learning and the Xylophone

These days we praise xylophones for their considerable influence on our early development. Attributed to the growth of creativity, reasoning and concentration, the xylophone helps little ones to build lifelong skills!

 

Gross and Fine Motor Skills

Yep, that’s right, playing the xylophone promotes physical development in a big way! As children experiment with different ways of drumming and creating sound, they also enhance the growth of large muscle groups. Learning to use mallets strengthens several smaller muscle groups as children practice playing with more precision.

 

Hand-Eye Coordination

From as early as one, children can begin interacting with xylophones in a way that consistently engages hand-eye coordination skills. Little ones can begin learning how to accurately guide their hands to make sounds and practice using their hands and eyes together.

 

Cognitive Skills

Making music enables high levels of cognitive function! From problem-solving to planning, logic and reasoning, playing the xylophone massively boosts brain activity. It is even thought those who continue playing music from an early age have highly advanced memory systems.

 

Sensory Development

Making music is a multi-layered experience that encourages children to explore using all of their senses. Experimenting with pitch, tone and even vibration, little ones can immerse themselves in a calming, sensory adventure. Xylophones designed for early learning are usually vibrant, colourful and visually stimulating. This helps capture the imagination of little ones and inspires a deeper level of sensory exploration.

 

Creativity and Expression

Creative play is hugely beneficial to early development! The process of trying new things and using the imagination to problem solve, provide fun ways for little ones to sharpen their creative ability. But did you know getting creative also does wonders for personal growth and self-esteem? Instruments like the xylophone allow children to explore their emotions and experiences non-verbally. This can help build self-confidence, enhance communication skills and even inform a sense of identity.

Empowering at every level, this simple instrument has assisted our development across the centuries. With such a wide variety of benefits to early learning, the xylophone is a tough toy to beat! With that being said, I think there is only one way to celebrate…Get the little ones involved and let’s go and make some music!

Ben Williamson
Creative Writer
Ben is passionate about Montessori learning for children and has written for many parenting publications to bring the magic of real play to families in the UK. After graduating in 2009, his career has enabled him to work in areas such as Child Development and Psychology. As a great believer that learning starts at home, he combines his experience with his own parenting style to help bring other families together.

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