Singing and music play an important role in our culture. You’ll find music present in many aspects of our lives: theater, television, movies, worship, holidays, celebrations, and government and military ceremonies. But none is as important as how we use music with our children.
From birth, parents instinctively use music to calm and soothe children, to express their 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 kids of all ages.
The Benefits of Music
Music ignites all areas of child development: intellectual, social and 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 other benefits of music, it also provides us with joy. Just think about listening to a good song on the car radio with the window down on a beautiful day. That’s joy.
Children’s Music and Social Learning
For toddlers and preschoolers, music making can be a dynamic social learning experience. Making music together, children learn to work as a team while they each contribute to the song in their own way. At the same time, music helps children learn that together they can make something larger than the sum of its parts.
More benefits of music for children include learning cooperation, sharing, compromise, creativity, and concentration – skills that become invaluable as they enter school, face new challenges, and begin to form new friendships and develop social skills.
Developmental Benefits of Music
Children of all ages express themselves through music. Playing music for infants proves that, even at an early age, children sway, bounce, or move their hands in response to music they hear. Many preschoolers make up songs and, with no self-consciousness, sing to themselves as they play. Kids in elementary school learn to sing together as a group and possibly learn to play a musical instrument. Older children dance to the music of their favorite rock bands and use music to form friendships and share feelings.
• Infants and Music. Infants recognize the melody of a song long before they understand the words. They often try to mimic sounds and start moving to the music as soon as they are physically able. Quiet, background music can be soothing for infants, especially at sleep time. Loud background music may overstimulate an infant by raising the noise level of the room. Sing simple, short songs to infants in a high, soft voice. Try making up one or two lines about bathing, dressing, or eating