Music scholars from around the world sing and dance with toddlers at USC

Music scholars from around the world since and dance with toddlers at USC

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Parts of USC were filled with the sound of music early Wednesday.

The school brought in top music scholars from around the world for what's called "interactive play" with toddlers at the Bright Horizons Daycare Center on the USC campus.

These classes involve very little talking. Interactive play is mostly singing and dancing, which some say allows children to get comfortable in their own skin at an early age.

Wendy Valerio, the director of the USC Children's Music Development Center since 1999, says when you hear a child go 'bop bop bop bop,' some people just ignore that, like that was just a child babbling. But if you put your music ears on you'll hear 'bop bop bop bop' and you can look in that child's eyes and you can have a music interaction.

The professor says the program is a way for the staff to help toddlers honor their sounds and their movements.

"So, it helps them be comfortable with their own musicianship because we're each born with our own music potential," Professor Valerio said.

Wednesday's session featured top music scholars from around the world including Spain, Argentina, and China, teaching toddlers to express themselves using song and dance.

"There are many social benefits from learning to work in a group, learning to respect each other's sounds, learning to take turns," Professor Valerio said.

Lead teacher, Merilyn Jacobs, says the program works especially well for children who speak English as a second language and children who are naturally shy.

"I've seen children who are not talking at all but when they do this music, they begin to talk. They don't say anything but when they do this they can sing the words and the sounds and it starts them to talk," Jacobs said.

Professor Valerio says you'll find staff members down on the floor.

"Get down on the floor with your child: sing, move, dance, play," she said.

A lesson Valerio says parents and anyone working with children should at least consider, "listen to your children and what you think is babble or might be language, consider that it might be music."

For more on the USC "Music Play" classes through the Children's Music Development Center, click here.

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