Music has been a force of healing since the very early beginning of human history. It was a popular tool in supporting the learning and development of children from a young age, either through rituals, celebrations, or folklores passed down from generation to generation.
Research suggests that almost 90% of a child’s brain fully develops by the time they’re five years old. Due to this, parents, guardians, teachers, and caretakers must emphasize early development and help children grow to their full potential. Music simultaneously bolsters several learning opportunities as a tool that engages the whole brain. Famous philosophers like Plato and Aristotle put particular stress on using music in the upbringing of children. They believed its power could influence character and disposition in the early years and affect how we grow into adults.
Advancements in technology have brought a sudden shift in several areas of our life—including music. But while we may have moved from the gramophone to the iPhone, music has stayed with us throughout human history. This universal language connects humanity and builds neural connections on whose foundation we make learning strategies.
So, how exactly does music support physical and psychological development? There are several ways it does this, but we have outlined the top 7 ways it is most effective.
Table of Contents
1. Improves cognitive performance
Studies suggest that music helps improve brain power and inspires creativity from an early age. Scientists have inherently linked music with cognitive, emotional, motor, and social functioning for several years. Parents who routinely incorporate music lessons for children seem to report cognitive improvements like better attention span and high numeracy and prosocial skills.
Listening to background music while engaging in another activity can also enhance the performance of cognitive tasks. The ranging harmonies and musical notes induce a multi-sensory experience in individuals, enhancing learning abilities.In particular, music influences three primary aspects of cognitive development: intelligence, memory, and attention.
2. Accelerates physical development
Music can naturally accelerate physical growth in children. The act of dancing and spontaneous movement to the beat allows them to explore their curiosity and discover their love for sound and motion.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, research shows that babies are more likely to react to music than to speech and are more inclined to move rhythmically to instruments. Developmental skills like laterality, position in space, and midline-crossing are also acquired when kids dance to music. It lets them work on their coordination which subsequently aids in muscle training. Through music, kids can test their body’s limits and learn to run, crawl, skip, stretch, and balance while having fun.
3. Enriches memory
Memories are a brain’s ability to retrieve information or events from the past. So when we want to remember something, the most crucial thing is repetition. Studies suggest that certain types of music can calm our brains, leaving them more receptive to receiving and storing information. Listening to or performing music you’ve experienced before can reactivate certain regions of the brain associated with memory, emotion, speech, and reward. Therefore, music can help individuals retrieve stored memories and form new ones.
Songs and nursery rhymes are a normal part of children’s curriculum. It’s a quicker and more effective form of language that facilitates learning unfamiliar terms. Since music can permeate all brain areas, it can store memories in various shapes and places.
4. Increases motivation
Research shows that music can trigger basic human needs. These include communication, cooperation, and social attachment. Music significantly contributes to brain development in adolescents and children and increases educational motivation. Moreover, music stimulates the release of dopamine. This hormone plays a vital role in regulating motivation and inducing goal-oriented behavior in individuals.
Music can also increase stimulation within a child’s body through the connection between auditory and motor neurons. Listening to music encourages movement and makes children more mobile. And since physical activity is known to spark mental exercise, it fuels productivity and motivation.
Constant motivation is necessary for creating a positive impact on life. When children feel encouraged to perform tasks, they fare better psychologically and have better mental health than those who don’t.
5. Builds intimacy
Creating strong bonds and close relationships with children can significantly impact their development. Music can strengthen these connections between parents and children, or even between teachers and students. For instance, a mom singing a lullaby to her baby can help the child feel safe and secure. This sense of security contributes to a healthier lifestyle and provides the child with a sense of self-worth, which is crucial for their psychological development.
Children form most of their essential relationships as infants and toddlers. Being surrounded by music can help them build a safe environment that will carry them through good and bad experiences throughout their lives.
6. Creates a sense of belonging
It’s common to pass down famous lullabies and children’s songs from one generation to the next. These pieces of music create a sense of belonging and build a community of individuals with mutual interests.
For every individual, belonging is a basic human need. But for children especially, it opens up avenues to explore their creativity, risk-taking, playing, and learning. They feel connected when they hear songs, listen to stories, and speak with adults. This form of connection allows them to develop psychologically in a safe environment. It enables them to absorb the beliefs and values of a community and create a sense of belonging at its core.
7. Expands imagination and communication
Actively listening to music and songs helps develop children’s language skills. The ranging pitches, rhythmic beats, and vocal emphases of nursery rhymes and songs provide are present in day-to-day conversations. Children can pick up on these changing sounds and make sense of the language adults speak around them. They can even gauge situations and moods by analyzing how loud or low a pitch is.
These social cues help children develop communication skills from a very young age. By mimicking the sounds and music they hear, they can get their message across and pick up on vocabulary much quicker.
While music can most definitely inspire and entertain us as adults, it can also have a powerful impact on our children’s development. Whether it’s lullabies, nursery rhymes, or sing-a-longs, music provides us with a valuable tool to build intimate relationships with our children. Besides enhancing their motive and cognitive skills, it significantly impacts their overall happiness and psychological well-being as well.
Incorporating music into your everyday lives can be an excellent way of improving your child’s upbringing. You may be surprised to find that its effects will also make you feel happier and relaxed as a result.