How Music Helps Young Children Grow
Music has always been a very big part of our lives as humans; every day we encounter it from different sources, and it’s hard to come across someone who does not love music, or whose life has not been positively touched by it in one form or the other.
Young children are not left out when it comes to enjoying and benefitting from the goodness that music brings with it. But how exactly does music help them grow and develop very well during their early years?
Read on to find out.
The Role of Music in Early Childhood Development
Here are some of the benefits of music to early years children.
More music, more happiness
Music is a source of entertainment that brings happiness. Whether they are infants, toddlers, preschoolers, or of school age, music comes naturally to children. They always love to listen, sing (if they can), and dance to it because the words, melodies and rhythms that make up a piece of good music naturally cause positive emotions such as excitement and delight.
Listening to music, or playing it, can lead to the release of a significant amount of endorphins which are also known as “happiness hormone(s).”
This is why parents looking for ways to improve the mood of their child or reduce their stress levels to a minimum, for example when they are experiencing some sort of discomfort, often turn to music.
Music as a promoter of intimacy
If you want to help your infant or toddler build intimacy with you, you will as well find that “getting musical” with them promotes stronger bonding. For example, just by singing lullabies to make them sleep, you not only soothe your child, but you also communicate your love, affection and devotion to them.
This increases feelings of security and trust in the child, and therefore makes it easier for them to develop a strong, intimate relationship with you – the type that is necessary for their proper development.
Physical development is enhanced
The production and enjoyment of music, which usually involves a lot of body movement such as pressing, tapping, clapping, shaking, dancing, and bouncing using the hands, arms or legs, contributes to children’s physical development.
More specifically, it helps them develop gross motor coordination and fine motor skills which are necessary for performing various tasks properly.
Older children that have been taught to play musical instruments like the keyboard, toy drums, and rattles, stand to benefit even more as such activities further help to build brain and body coordination.
Improved social interaction and communication
Music production can also improve the quality of your child’s social interaction and communications.
When they are involved with making music, for example with their peers in class, young children learn to practice teamwork, cooperation and concentration, without which a group of people in a band cannot produce good-sounding music using different instruments.
They also learn to recognise and respond to non-verbal communication cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and signs, all of which are often used while making music in a group to say start/stop, speed up/ slow down, etc.
Music inspires creativity
For young children, making music is as important, and maybe even more important in a way, than just listening to it. This is because music production requires some degree of creativity, as well as mathematical and linguistic precision.
As a result, if your child frequently engages in making music, they are likely to become more creative, develop better language skills, and even have more interest in math and other sciences.
Faster brain development, higher academic achievement
As one research done by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, and another by Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, confirms, childhood musical experiences can speed up brain development and promote academic achievement.
It does this especially in the areas of mathematical learning, language acquisition, reading skills, English language arts (ELA) skills, as well as remembrance of verbal information.
In other words, music education can improve cognitive skills, memory, and overall literacy and numeracy – a fact not many people are aware of.
Music promotes emotional awareness and maturity
Learning about feelings and emotions is one of the things children do during their early years, and music can be of help to them while they do so. This is because every piece of music causes an emotion or feeling, and when they listen to music children begin to learn to recognise/identify different emotions through sounds.
Singing, dancing and playing musical instruments are also great ways to express feelings or show emotions in a good way.
Therefore musical experiences can help your child in their early years understand, express and manage their own feelings, as well as understand and even share in the feelings of others.
A sense of belonging and connectedness
Just like it does in adults, playing or listening to music with other people creates a sense of oneness and belonging in young children. Different types or genres of music can as well help them learn about cultures different from that in which they were born.
This is why preschools that wish to make their environment inclusive and connected expose children to music from various cultures; from such music they get a feel of the beliefs, values, and stories of these homelands, and are also able to appreciate the similarities and differences between these cultures and theirs.
At the Apple Tree Kindergarten, not only do we integrate music into the daily classroom routines and learning activities, we also provide specialised music classes. Our music class is well-equipped; and, with the help of our specialist music teacher who tutors our students starting from 18 months of age, we do our best to make our kindergarten a very music-friendly one.
The Benefits of Music to Young Children Summarized
In a nutshell, we can say that music contributes to young children’s optimal growth and development because it:
- keeps them in a happy and relaxed mood;
- helps them develop fine and gross motor skills;
- makes them more intimate with their parents/caregivers;
- helps improve their social skills;
- inspires logical thinking, imagination and creativity in them;
- promotes their literacy and numeracy;
- helps them develop emotional awareness and maturity;
- expands their ability to communicate; and
- triggers a sense of belonging and connectedness within them.
As a parent who wants their child to benefit the most from music, you can start by creating a rich musical environment at home, one in which your kids are frequently exposed to age-appropriate music, musical instruments, as well as entertaining and instructive activities/games based on music.