Shanghai celebrated this year’s International Children’s Day on June 1 with the International Children’s Music Festival Hand in Hand. This event, the first of its kind in China, was organized by Rebecca Kanthor and Liu Jian, an American journalist and her Chinese husband. The idea was born out of their love for music, children and desire for increased cultural understanding. International bands from North America and Europe were invited to perform for local and expatriate children. The co-founders believe that there are no boundaries when it comes to music, because wherever children come from, music is always the universal language.
With international children’s music festivals trending and gaining popularity worldwide, why is it a good idea to take your kids to one?
Unlike adults, children absorb the language of another culture easily. Professors at the State University of New York found out that presenting young children with the sound, rhythm and intonation of language and music from diverse cultures helps them discern between sounds, which assists with the acquisition of language skills (Owen, 2012). Besides, exposing children to other cultures in a positive way increases their intercultural understanding and global awareness. They will learn that in every part of the world there are other kids, just like them. It will build cultural harmony and respect, instead of disengagement and mistrust.
Music is not exclusively reserved for special occasions like music festivals. Songs and tunes from different cultures should used on a daily basis as the steering wheel for early education. Whether in a classroom, a childcare centre or at home, kids are drawn to the sounds of another language. Young children learn by being actively engaged in the process, through probing and experiencing, through replicating and acting out. As such, a successful early childhood music program must integrate real-life interaction, multi-modal learning, and should be easily accessed anywhere, anytime.
Joko’s World apps are a suite of digital tools that fit all the above criteria. They use the power of video gaming to create daily, immersive cultural experiences for kids aged 7-15, on smartphones and tablets. By means of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic interactions, the players finger-tap, strum, blow into and shake their devices like they would with instruments. The children learn how to play songs and rhythms from cultures across the globe. This enables them to acquire linguistic, musical skills, muscle memory as well as physical development. The apps also act as teacher’s and parents’ aid to nurture their children’s social and emotional outcomes with consistent encouragement and support from Joko. There’s no pressure on the child to get things right because there is no right or wrong, just the joy of participation. The kids are having fun by singing songs, chanting rhymes, playing games and grooving. What’s better than being able to take your kids to a multicultural musical festival everyday without stepping out of your house?
Download your free copy from our suite of Joko’s World apps here http://jokosworld.com/apps/.
Owens, R.E.(2012) Language Development: An Introduction (8th ed.). Needham Heights, MA:Allyn and Bacon.
Rattigan, Marlene. (2017). Multicultural Music in Early Childhood. Teaching Community. Retrieved 16 June 2017, from Teaching Community
Shasha, Chen. (2017). International Children’s Music Festival Comes to Shanghai. Global Times.