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wind-chimesThe wind chime is an exotic and beautiful instrument which has a gentle wavy movement and produces the most pleasant and calming sounds. Thanks to these qualities, it is an excellent first musical instrument to present to a newborn baby, toddlers and children from a range of different abilities as well as one that can serve many children for its calming effect.

A Soothing Sound through Time
The origin of today’s wind chimes is from ancient Indian wind bells. By the second century AD, these wind bells were hung from large palaces in order to drive away evil spirits. Later on they were introduced to the people of China and Japan, where they were used for decorating temples, pagodas and homes. In the past, wind chimes may also have been used to observe changes in wind direction, depending on where they are hung, when they commenced to sound.

Wind chimes are thought to bring good luck in some parts of Asia and are widely utilized in the Japanese Feng Shui philosophy.  They are also a time-honored way to calm and focus the senses.

Placed outside a bedroom or classroom window or inside the play or study room, wind chimes can provide a soothing solution for an over-stimulated child.  The sound of the chimes can work to calm a child; the rhythmic motion of them can help focus attention.  Wind chimes are a historical instrument with very present applications.

Listening, Exploring and Playing
To introduce wind chimes as an instrument to babies, toddlers and young children, consider that they experience three stages when learning music: listening, exploring and playing.

When playing the wind chimes to a newborn baby or introducing it to a toddler, focus first on their listening skills. Place the instrument close to the child’s face and hands and gently stroke it to support listening development.

To extend the length of the listening, move the instrument slowly and attentively from side to side and up and down, while constantly keeping it within the child’s sight. It is important to remember that children need to watch the source of the sound to build their listening skills.

From the age of 5 weeks up to 10 years, children explore this instrument by touching, grasping, pulling and swaying its rods.  such exploration is expected and worthwhile.

Research demonstrates that school children repeatedly and creatively explore musical instruments before they are ready to play a simple rhythm or tune. For many children, the best way to explore a wind chime is when it is hung safely at a comfortable height or held by an adult.

A Musical Idea
An inharmonic, high-pitched sound makes the wind chime an excellent musical accompaniment when singing the well-known nursery rhyme:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Sing softly and stroke the chimes very slowly. Stroke once on each line of the lyrics and stop playing at the end of the song. Sing and play simultaneously three times in a sequence, so as to allow the young audience to observe, listen and enjoy.

With older children, consider making this tune a ritual when calming sensory breaks are needed.

Caring for Wind Chimes
Wind Chimes are easy to care for:

  • Of course, never ever leave any kind of musical instrument with unattended babies, toddlers and young children under the age of four.
  • If a wind chime gets dirty or sticky, just wipe it down with a damp cloth.  Otherwise it shouldn’t need any maintenance.
  • Keep all the musical instruments in a special box or basket and place it on a high shelf or inside a cupboard. When presenting the musical box to your child, sit and explore the instruments together.

The best environment for wind chime exploration is a tidy and quiet room.  But, most importantly, playing and learning music is a lifelong joyful journey, so simply having fun together is key.