Whether we play, sing or just listen – music is an integral part of our lives. It lifts our mood, helps us express ourselves more easily and affects general health in every sense. This is especially true for children, whose life will not only be enriched, but the music will also have a decisive impact on their social, emotional and cognitive development.
Did you know that even if music is not your daily priority, you do not have the habit of taking the time to listen or play, each person is exposed to music for an average of 32 hours a week. Music surrounds us and we cannot escape from it. You’re probably not even trying, but if you’ve ever wondered how much music can help your child develop, here are some interesting facts.
Music and children from a scientific point of view
The scientific discipline of neuromusicology, which studies how the nervous system reacts to music, has proven that music activates the entire brain. Dealing with music drastically affects the physical structure of the brain, which is larger, better connected, more sensitive, and has more developed regions that control motor skills and spatial orientation. This is clearly evidenced by numerous brain scans of professional musicians that show a really different physiognomy. And that’s not all.
Music affects us even when we just listen to it. Sometimes it is enough to choose songs that are cheerful and faster in pace to improve our mood. This way, we stimulate the secretion of dopamine – the “motivation molecule”, a hormone that stimulates the brain. Even when we feel pain, when we are faced with problems that a happy song will not solve, music can have a cathartic effect on us and serve to relieve stress – it’s something that will clear our minds.
Listening to music affects self-confidence, just imagine how important this is when it comes to children, especially at ages when they are vulnerable and can easily lose faith in themselves.
Music and children
The introduction of music into everyday life, from the first day, will have a far-reaching impact on the child’s development. Especially if you encourage your child to play an instrument, you have really done a lot, because even after a few hours a positive effect is guaranteed. Research has shown that people who learned to play an instrument as children for four years show the effects of it even after 40 years.
How is that possible, you wonder and what does that actually mean for your child?
Learning to play a musical instrument accelerates the development of the brain, establishes stronger and better connections between the two hemispheres, and encourages the development of the parts which are in charge of language acquisition and reading. These are children who are good at mathematics, they solve tests better, their fine motor skills are more advanced, as well as spatial orientation. Due to the nature of the activity, children who learn to play an instrument are able to distinguish sounds much better, connect them with certain meanings and situations and they will learn how to communicate more easily in situations when there is noise and a lot of background sounds.
Children often have the need to play with music, to connect music and movement, and thus find a way to express themselves more easily. During the adolescence period, when many of them face insecurities and even depression, music can be a powerful mean of reducing stress and a helpful tool for helping them find their true selves.
In addition to getting them to express themselves better, there is creativity that music encourages at all ages. You remember that music activates the full potential of the brain, so while listening to music or playing it stimulates them to think, come up with new ideas, be creators. Music can evoke empathy, kindness, generosity, patience and willingness to cooperate while strengthening the bond between children.
Music by age
Children react to music, it’s just like that. It brings them joy, it gets them to move, sing, think, create, and that is why we should try to have more of it in the child’s life. While they are still babies, encourage them to move and produce sounds, as it is the earliest form of musical support you can provide. Later, when they are safe on their feet, they will use the opportunity to rock, play, spin to the sounds of their favorite song. You will completely delight them if you replace a word or two of a well-known song with something silly and unexpected.
The interests of preschoolers are a little different and they are more attracted to singing. It will happen that they sing you an answer when you ask them if they have cleaned up their toys. Anything that is the center of their attention can be transformed into a melody that they come up with. Songs with a lot of repetition of lyrics and melodies, as well as songs with an accentuated rhythm, are especially interesting to them at that age.
The first music lessons will bring interest and enjoyment in songs that include counting, spelling, connecting events with melodies, singing canons. At this age, they will express more clearly which musical style they like and which they do not, they will begin to develop their musical taste.
Among teenagers, music can have such a profound effect that it helps them define themselves as part of a certain social group, it can define them as members of a particular subculture. Music is a reason for them to get together, it encourages them to talk and think about certain topics, gives them a better perspective on life, and many will show interest in learning to play a new instrument.
It is important to mention that music therapy is a very effective way to help young people overcome certain disorders, difficulties, conditions. These tips can be beneficial to those parents who are dedicated to helping children who are facing depression, behavioral problems, have trouble learning or concentrating and experience a lack of interest.
Let’s round out the story on a high note
Music ennobles us, makes us better and smarter people. The influence of music on children is especially valuable, during their intensive development, because it greatly helps to expand their horizons, to express themselves, to encourage social, emotional and cognitive development.
Whether you opt for classical or fun music, one thing is for sure – the day will be much richer and more beautiful for you and your child. You do not have to be an expert to know what to choose, it is enough to listen to yourself and your child, follow the reactions and adapt to their wishes.
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” are the words of Victor Hugo, who perfectly grasped the meaning of music in human life. All that remains is to be guided by his wise words.
Listening to music helps us feel more powerful, it helps dealing with pain easier, even listening to sad music at a time when we are faced with difficult situations can have a cathartic effect.