Why does the soothing sound of a mother’s voice calm her infant child? Why do many kids react so positively to music from an early age? Why do children who learn musical skills tend to perform better in other areas - academically, emotionally, physically, and beyond? It turns out, music is one of the most important tools in child development. Here’s why.
Music helps you bond with your child
Think about some of your earliest memories. I bet many of them are tied, at least in some way, to music. That’s because our brains are tuned to create musical pathways from a very early age (infancy!). Not only that, but there’s a good chance that music is a sort of “bonding catalyst.” A PhD at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind in Hamilton, Ontario told Parents.com that music helps stimulate that same hormone - oxytocin - that is associated with bonding during nursing.
Music speeds up physical development
As your child grows out of infancy, they begin to develop their fine motor skills and work to become more flexible. Music actually plays a vital role in this stage. According to Education.com, music helps to “improve fine motor skills, coordination, and rhythm. Music also entices one to move and dance. As children dance to music, they increase coordination, flexibility, and motor skills. They develop body awareness and self-confidence.”
Yes, when you kid is bobbing their head, swinging their hips, and flailing their arms when Led Zeppelin comes on, they are helping with their own development.
Music helps your kid’s language development
Music and language are not two separate brain functions - in fact, they are two sides of the same coin. One struggles to develop without the help of the other. You see, when a child listens to music, they are learning to recognize auditory cues and the pitch, timbre, and tone of music helps them develop an ear for the same qualities in language. Multiple studies have posited this conclusion, that music and language are inextricably linked.
Music helps regulate body systems
If you’ve ever put on a song you love and instantly felt more chilled out, it’s not just in your head. Your body actually has autonomous reactions to music that helps it to self-regulate. In fact, some of the positive effects of singing and music include: reducing stress levels and lowering blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and helping those in addiction recovery find positive emotion. This idea can be used in children and adults - from the schoolyard through their teenage years and even in treatment situations.
Music is joy
You can get caught up in all the brain talk and forget one of the major reasons the music is so important to grow up healthy and happy: music is pure joy. It’s just a lot of fun. And it makes people of any age happy. Very few things in life can make us feel better by simply listening passively, actively participating, or taking in a live performance. Music is vital to development because, without it, any child would be missing out on a common human experience. For this reason, it’s key for social development.
You don’t have to put a violin in your toddler’s hands to ensure they reap the benefits of music. Sure, learning a musical instrument from an early age is pretty cool, and there’s at least anecdotal evidence that it makes kids more well-rounded, but in the end, you just have to give your child a musical environment where they can foster a lifelong love. This will make them happier, healthier, quicker to develop, and more socially adept.
As published on: https://anoteforchildren.com/2018/01/childrensdev
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
One of my earliest memories is standing next to my nana as she played the piano; watching her hands move up and down the keyboard and making great music. This picture is of her piano, which I now own. It always fascinated me how she could play, and sing at the same time. There was another thing that I found amazing; she didn’t have any music in front of her, only a list of the songs she liked to play. Pretty clever!
There is something so innately amazing about music. It cuts through the conscious mind and meanders deep into the subconscious, the soul really. It has the ability to take us back to places and people, times and events just by the hearing of a few notes that make a familiar melody.
There are studies done all the time as to how the learning of music effects cognitive development. I know it’s true when I visit nursing homes and hear stories of people who cannot remember what happened five minutes ago, but can still play the piano – fascinating.
Enjoy life, enjoy your music,
Linda Hannah Young
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