Benefits of Music in Early Childhood Development
Music is a big part of a child’s life from a very early age. They’re always excited to sing, dance, and play instruments (whether that’s gently pulling the string of a guitar or madly smashing a xylophone). And before that, parents tend to sing or coo to their children to relax them, even before they’re born.
What you might not know is that music and brain development are tightly linked. The effects of music on children also give them a big head start in building strong social and academic skills. So when you use music as a form of play, you help your children develop the creativity, confidence, and capabilities they need to become healthy, happy, and successful grownups.
7 reasons why music is important for child development
1) Encourages brain growth
After a child is born, their brain continues to grow for the next eight years. But the most significant growth happens before the age of five. It’s during this time that your child is most receptive to learning.
When people learn new things, our brains change and grow to better recognize and respond to what’s around us. Playing or listening to music also uses many areas of a child’s brain at once. So when you include music in your playtime, you help your child build and improve their brain!
A lot of research has been conducted into the relationship between music and brain development, too. In fact, a study by the University of California’s Brain and Creativity Institute showed that musical learning has a huge impact on children’s ability to process sound, develop language, understand speech, and even read. And since children can engage with music long before they can read, write, or speak, you can prepare them for future learning while having lots of fun.
2) Supports speech and language acquisition
Music and language have a lot in common. They use changes in tone, pitch, and volume to communicate different ideas. They rely on a steady rhythm. And they both use the left side of the brain.
That last part is why music helps your child to develop early language skills, even though it doesn’t involve speech. Listening to or making music allows kids to recognize and process different sounds, which improves their ability to pick out and understand syllables and words. So the more your kids enjoy music, the earlier you can expect them to express themselves through speech.
3) Trains motor skills
Making music is a very tactile experience that helps your child use their body and brain at the same time. At a time when children are still getting used to moving around, this gives them the encouragement they need to practice their motor skills.
Motor skills are broken down into gross motor skills (which use big muscles) and fine motor skills (which use small ones). So when a child moves towards, picks up, and dances to their musical toys, they’re practicing their gross motor skills. And when they push buttons, pluck strings, or tap things with sticks, they’re practicing their fine motor skills. No matter how they’re interacting with it, music helps your child gain control over their body.
4) Promotes socialization
While children can make or listen to music on their own, it’s much more fun to do it with a parent or friend. After all, the more instruments there are, the more noise they can make, and the more fun they can have!
In other words, music is a social experience. It encourages children to seek out others and share the joys of music with them. And since close relationships are important for a child’s growth, playing with music gives them an excellent opportunity to make some.
5) Welcomes emotional development
The part of the brain that processes music is called the amygdala. This is also the part of the brain that processes emotions. That’s one reason why we associate different notes or sequences of notes with particular feelings, and use them to tell stories through sound.
Just like recognizing speech, children who play through music at an early age are better able to recognize how others are feeling through the sounds they make. And since music is an inclusive experience, it fosters a sense of cooperation, belonging, and joy. Together, they give children the tools to understand those around them and take action to help them feel welcome and safe.
6) Improves memory
When children hear the same song many times, they eventually start to remember the words and sing along. That’s why we often teach children new information through songs.
Encouraging children to remember how to sing and play music gives them a chance to exercise their memories. And the more they use their memories, the better they become. This can also help children succeed in school in the future, as they learn from an early age that adding a fun rhythm can help them remember something important.
7) Leads to academic success
In school, kids are often given problems that need many different skills or types of knowledge to solve. This is a lot like making music using a variety of instruments.
A wide range of studies has shown a positive link between early music learning and higher academic performance. Music allows children to put many different sounds together to create a new tune, experimenting with different options to find those that work together. This helps children look at problems from a lot of different angles to find the answer, and stimulates critical thinking skills in all aspects of their lives.
How can I enjoy music at home with my child?
If you want to help your child develop great cognitive, social, and emotional skills, there’s no better way than using hands-on STEAMbright activity kits.
Our Pioneering Music kit is designed for kids aged three to eight. It helps your little ones learn all about sound, craft a homemade shaker, and even make their own instrument.
For slightly older children, we also have the Exploring Musical Instruments kit for ages 9 to 11. This gets kids thinking about how music is made and teaches them to make plenty of cool and colorful instruments to play with and test.
It’s time to share the joys of music and let your child grow!