As parents, we always make sure to offer what’s best for our children, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, and of course, intellectually. With so many options available today to help promote the positive development of our our kids, exposing young children to music has been one of the most intriguing, most especially when it comes to its claim on honing our children’s development early on.
This makes us wonder, is there really a link between the development of children and music? Let’s talk about how music benefits children and more in this article.
Why Is Music Good For Kids?
Experts suggest that music has a positive influence on a child’s skill development. In a study reflected in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, music interventions are linked to the development of a variety of skills in preschool children, including language, motor, cognitive, and social skills. On top of these benefits of music for preschoolers, music can be a form of self-expression, a source of enjoyment and a good medium for stress-relief and relaxation across all ages.
Not to mention, playing an instrument, singing and dancing can relieve boredom, boost self-esteem, and give a child something to work and focus on. The skills and knowledge they develop will carry on with them throughout the rest of their lives.
Since music is said to have a number of beneficial effects to a child’s development and well-being, let’s examine in more detail how it specifically affects young children, and how you can effectively incorporate music into your child’s daily activities.
Effects Of Music On Child Development
It turns out, the benefits of music in early childhood are outstanding, and several studies back up this claim. Among the top benefits of music for children are the following:
Musical And Linguistic Development
Language is a basic skill that children learn in their early years, and this skill begins by hearing and imitating the sounds that a child hears from his or her environment. Sounds are obviously the foundation of music, which is the primary reason why some experts are taking a look at its value towards language development.
As you might have witnessed, babies typically begin cooing, babbling and producing similar sounds in their effort to talk back to their family or primary care provider.
In fact, a study found that musical experiences during the early years of childhood can speed up the development of the brain areas where language and reading are processed. Another study revealed evidences that focusing on the musical aspect of language can help learning a secondary language a lot quicker. Additionally, music-based therapy has been employed to help children with language and developmental deficits.
Music And Motor Development
Experts suggest that music and physical education develops similar skills like stamina, coordination, reaction time and concentration which are all vital in a child’s motor development. This is true even if the child does not begin playing a musical instrument. Music and dancing can go together and can be the medium in which children can express themselves and practice their physical abilities such as balance, coordination and timing.
In simple terms, music can encourage young children to move and practice their motor skills, in such a manner that is more enjoyable for them.
Additionally, children playing music instruments can enhance their fine motor skills even further. Be it hitting a simple tune on a piano, the guitar string, or a xylophone, these musical-related activities can help your child practice using their fingers, hands, arms and other parts of their bodies.
Professional music instructors can provide tailored lessons specifically for children, assisting not only in their musical development, but bringing out the best in their motor development as a whole.
Music And Cognitive Development
With music, children are taught how to focus on the tune and rhythm of the song. They learn about musical concepts such as pitch and rhythm. Music also trains their brain to memorize the tone and lyrics at an early age. Critical thinking skills are also being practiced when children compare one tune to another, when they recognize patterns in their musical preferences, or when they notice a change in the tempo or melody of a song for example.
Music And Social- Emotional Development
Children enjoying music with their parents, siblings, peers, and schoolmates may show an impressive edge towards their social and emotional development. Not only that music is a good medium to express their thoughts and feelings, children can also build social ties when they sing or play a tune with their family and peers. Music can even be the earliest way for infants to build positive social interactions with the people around them.
Music And Children Tips Across Ages
As you can see, children can benefit from music in an incredible number of ways. Be it as simple as listening to a song, humming a song, or trying to play their own musical instrument, there can be a huge positive impact on their health and wellbeing. So if you are now thinking of introducing music into your child’s daily routine, here are some tips that can help.
Infancy To Toddlerhood (0 to 3 years old)
For babies and very young children, music can be a form of play and interaction with their immediate surroundings. So as simple as humming a rhyme while you try to play with their fingers, tummy or toes will be fun and pleasurable with them. Among the songs that you can use to encourage movement and play are the “Eensy Weensy Spider,” “Bumpity Bumb,” and “Cock A Doodle Doo.”
You can also create a special rhyme that goes with their very predictable routine. For instance, you can sing a playful tune upon their waking hours, another rhyme for their bath time and a lullaby by bedtime. Apart from the soothing effect of music, this will help them recognize music as part of their normal daily activities.
Even toddlers and very young children can imitate the movements of those around them, including playing instruments like a keyboard or drum. Encourage your young child to play along with you, or have older siblings spend time with the younger children and play music together.
Pre-school (4 to 6 years old)
Preschool children are fond of more active music and movements. They are also more capable of memorizing more complex songs, along with recognizing the basic concepts of music. This is why it is a great opportunity to introduce songs with different tempos, styles and rhythms. You may sing or play a tune in a higher or lower pitch, quicker or slower tempo, and louder or softer dynamics to help your child recognize the differences with these basic concepts.
Music teachers will also be able to explain these to young children in ways that make sense for their age group.
This is also when the child begins to develop his or her own song or create their own lyrics, which can also enhance his critical thinking skills. So if you hear your preschooler hum a unique tune or sing a song with his own version, encourage him or her to do so and let him compare it to the other songs that you both have listened to.
Songs are also a great opportunity to enhance their articulation and vocabulary during this time. If you’re going to play a more complex tune and your preschooler asks about a certain pronunciation of a word, be there to support and guide him as it will be better remembered during this time.
Additionally, you can introduce musical instruments during this age. Take note that it won’t need to be that complicated for them to learn how to play a tune with an instrument. It is often recommend to introduce them to simpler instruments with variations in their tunes. For example, let them play drums which are typically lower pitched and a tambourine which is high pitched, and encourage them to notice the difference.
Of course, if you plan to enroll your child in music lessons (such as the guitar or the piano), that is perfectly fine as well. While these instruments have lots of room to grow (one could spend their whole life mastering them!), they are still easy enough to get started and for a child to enjoy practicing.
School-age And Beyond (7 years and older)
Older children tend to be more inclined to their favorite songs or musical styles, and this is when they develop their own preferences to music. If your child is more inclined to a certain instrument, or wants to develop their singing skills, you should let them. You can enroll them to a music or dancing class if they’d prefer. During this time, it is important to allow them to choose and the parent’s role is to guide and support their creative skills along the way.
Note: This article can help encourage your child to practice their instrument. It’s written for guitar, but the concepts apply regardless of the instrument that your child plays.
Music offers plenty of beneficial effects for children and can be a huge influential factor towards their growth and development. Be it as simple as soothing them down to sleep or to encourage them in boosting their skills, the inclusion of music in their daily routine will help them relax, learn, and express themselves in a tune that only music understands.