Music in child development

Did you know that music plays an important role in your child’s development? We’ve always been aware of the powerful and transformative impact of music on people. However, until recently, most people didn’t know about the effects of music on memory and cognitive development.

Music and musical play have profound impacts on children, especially when they are exposed to music from their early childhood. Studies have indicated that when children are exposed to music through play, they unravel things about the world around them and who they are.

It also helps them speak more clearly, develop better vocabulary, improves their emotional and social abilities, and deepens their musical appreciation. All this is possible because when we listen to or play music, it generates changes in the brain. This article will analyze the importance of music through play in child development and parent’s important role in musical development.

Importance of music in early childhood development

A research discovered that music can actually improve a child’s brain development, especially in aspects of language acquisition and reading competence. Studies have also shown that children who learn to play a musical instrument, have better SAT scores and enhanced mathematical skills. However, academic excellence isn’t the only benefit of music in early childhood development.

  • Children find music entertaining and fun: Music has a way of affecting our moods and uplifting our spirits. Listening and singing along to a song is a way for your kids to enjoy positive emotions like joy or care, and also unravel the opportunities of laughing and joking.
  • Music builds strong connections and intimacy: Studies have demonstrated that children will quietly listen to a lullaby twice as much as they participate in adult conversation or baby talks.
  • People experience a deep sense of connection and belonging through music: a child feels stronger family connections when they spend quality time together listening and dancing to music. People from different backgrounds come together in the school environment. However, children can feel a wonderful sense of belonging to a group when songs incorporate stories about cultural heritage or origins.
  • Music that includes movement like a clap, tap, hop, bounce, or dance can help improve the fine and large motor skills of your child. Easy songs that involve movement helps build a child’s body coordination and brain development.
  • Children who listen to music have a larger vocabulary than children who do not: They tend to babble more when they hear languages directed at them. It’s easy for a child to imitate the sounds or words he hears as a way to make sense of the world around them.

Children and music

Most children love listening to and dancing to music. This is expressed in their sway, bounce, excitements, and other body gestures when we play a song. Preschoolers are fond of creating their own songs and sing to themselves while they play. Even older children dance and sing along to the music from their favorite band.

Infants

Infants are quick to recognize the beats of a song they have heard even without knowing the actual lyrics of the song. Playing music in the background can be soothing for your child when they want to sleep.

However, if you want them active and stimulated, you can increase the volume of the music. You can come up with a simple and short song about eating, bathing, washing, or even dressing which they can enjoy while they participate in these activities.

Toddlers

Your toddler can also enjoy their music and music play as well. The trick is repetition. You have to keep playing the same song over and over till they learn the lyrics. This helps with memorization and language development. Encourage your toddler to clap, hop, or tap objects along with the rhythms of the song.

Don’t be too serious with your musical selection, allow them to have fun too. Silly songs will make them laugh and improve their mood. You can try to replace a word in their rhymes with a silly word to get a reaction from them. You can say Jack and Jill went up the “claptrap” instead of the hill.  

Moreover, preschoolers love to sing songs about things they are familiar with like animals, toys, people, and activities. They also enjoy nursery rhymes and silly rhymes even without musical trimmings.

School-Age Children

School-age children usually love singalong songs that typically has nothing to do with how they connect with the lyrics of the song and mostly to do with how a specific chord progression, melodic hook, or beat excites them. They also enjoy songs that involve spelling, counting, or recalling a chain of events. Rhymes like “This old man,” “One, two, three, four,” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” can be fun for kids.

Teenagers

Teenagers like to form bonds and relationships through their musical choice. They can hang out with friends who like their favorite bands or listen to their kind of music. They also love to join bands and take music classes to solidify their friendships or musical knowledge. You can never go wrong when you bring children and music together.

The role of parent’s in early childhood development

It’s important to remember that parents play a significant role in the musical education of children, particularly in their musical development and appreciation. Studies have shown that parents who are musically oriented create a favorable environment for their children to develop musical behaviors than parents with less musical backgrounds.

A deep musical environment accelerates your child’s contact with music and fosters their music ability. Asides from this, families that include music in their child’s education, build stronger relationships with their children when they enjoy music together. By so doing, music doesn’t just help with a child’s cognitive development, but it also increases the quality of time the family spends together.

Tips to encourage your child to participate in music

  • Catch them young. Music education should begin at a young age.
  • Listen, listen, listen. While your kids will still gain from the music you play in the background, it is more effective when they can hear the music clearly. Make efforts to listen to music with your children and concentrate on the elements of the music.
  • Select the appropriate patterns. More often than not, kids learn the execution skills of rhythmic movement and singing by copying patterns.
  • Participate and make it fun. The easiest way to get your child to participate in any musical exercise is to participate in the music with them. The hugs, smiles, and gestures of encouragement are important in determining whether your child will actually participate in that musical play/musical education or not.
  • Take it a step further. If you want your child to be the next Madonna or Elvis Presley, you’ll need to enroll them in a musical instruction program that goes beyond the usual music playtime.

Reference list

https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/music-and-children-rhythm-meets-child-development

https://novakdjokovicfoundation.org/importance-music-early-childhood-development/

https://www.portdiscovery.org/news-room/5-reasons-why-music-important-early-childhood-development

https://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/learning-path/articles/the-role-of-parents-in-early-music-education