Singing and music play an important role in our culture. You’ll find music present in many aspects of our lives: theatre, television, movies, worship, holidays, celebrations, government and military ceremonies. At home, music can become part of our family cultures—a natural part of our everyday experiences.
From birth, parents instinctively use music to calm and soothe children, to express love and joy, and to engage and interact. Parents can build on these natural instincts by learning how music can impact child development, improve social skills, and benefit children of all ages.
MUSIC AND THE BRAIN: THE BENEFITS OF MUSIC
A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. According to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores.
But academic achievement isn’t the only benefit of music education and exposure. Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.
In addition to the developmental benefits, simply put: music bring us joy. Just think about listening to a good song in the car with the window down on a beautiful day. That’s joy.
School-Age Children and Music: Most young school-age children are intrigued by kids’ singalong songs that involve counting, spelling, or remembering a sequence of events. School-age children begin expressing their likes and dislikes of different types of music. They may express an interest in music education, such as music lessons for kids.Teens and Music: Teenagers may use musical experiences to form friendships and to set themselves apart from parents and younger kids. They often want to hang out and listen to music after school with a group of friends. Remember those days of basement and garage bands? Teens often have a strong interest in taking music lessons or playing in a band.There is no downside to bringing children and music together through fun activities. We are able to enjoy the benefits of music from the moment we’re born. Although a good dose of Mozart is probably not increasing our brain power, it’s enjoyable and beautiful. From the pure pleasure of listening to soothing sounds and rhythmic harmonies, to gaining new language and social skills music can enliven and enrich the lives of children and the people who care for them.