Music and Child Development

Research supports the concept that music can play a beneficial role when it comes to child development. Through this article, you are presented with some essential information about how music may be beneficial when it comes to child development.

Included within this article is an examination of how children relate to music at different stages in their life. That interrelationship is important to understand when it comes to maximizing the ways in which music can be most effective in playing a role in child development.

Music and the Brain: What We Know

A 2016 study undertaken by the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute concluded that musical experiences in childhood can accelerate brain development. The study revealed that this particularly is the case in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation further reported that learning to play an instrument improves mathematical learning. It also reports that exposure to music in this manner boosted SAT scores.

Academic achievement is not the only benefit associated with exposure to music and music education. Music is now thought to enhance other areas of child development including:

  • intellectual
  • social
  • emotional
  • motor
  • language
  • literacy

The relationship between music and children at different ages can be helpful in better understanding the interaction between music and child development.

Music for Children of All Ages

Children of all ages can express themselves through music, as will be discussed more specifically shortly. For example, even infants express themselves via music by doing things like bouncing, swaying, or moving hands. An early introduction to music in the life of a child, from birth onward, is likely to ensure the most profound impact of music on development issues.

Infants and Music

Infants have the ability to recognize the melody of songs well before the understand words. Infants try to mimic the sounds and they start moving to the music as soon as they are able to move.

The best songs for infants are short and simple ones. Quite background music is soothing for infants. Loud music can overstimulate infants. A parent can make up one or two line songs about eating, dressing, and bathing that may directly impact child development in a positive manner.

Toddlers and Music

Toddlers truly enjoy moving and dancing to music. The key to music for toddlers is repetition of songs. This assists them in using words they continue to hear and aids in memorization. They enjoy hearing the same songs played over and over.

Preschoolers and Music

By the time a child hits preschool, he or she enjoys singing for the sake of singing. A preschooler usually is not self conscious about their ability. Preschoolers are simply eager to let their voices ring out. For some children, that self consciousness will appear a bit later in life.

Preschoolers prefer songs that repeat words and melodies. They life songs about things that are familiar to them, including animals, toys, playtime activities, and people in their lives. They enjoy songs with or without musical accompaniment.

School-Age Children and Music

By the time children reach primary school, the begin developing and expressing specific likes and dislikes in regard to music. This is when many children begin to express at least some interest in becoming involved in music education. Later in primary school, children will have a growing interest in specific musical performers, an interest that will extent into their teen years in some instances.

Teenagers and Music

As children progress into their teens, music becomes an important element of their lives, in most cases. For example, they use music to form friendships. They use music to set themselves apart from parents and from younger children.

Teens may have a strong interest in taking music lessons or participating in music groups, like bands or even choirs. This is also the stage in life at which they will want to start attending concerts. Many teens develop strong interests in specific musical performers. Indeed, they begin to follow specific performers for extended periods of time.

Adapting Music to Specific Life Stages

One way in which music can be most effective in child development is ensuring that music in their lives matches with their relationship to it at a particular juncture in life. In other words, when the availability and access to music matches a child’s particular connection to it at a specific point in life, music will be a more powerful influence on that child’s overall development.

 

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Jessica Kane is a writer for SoundStage Direct, the number one online source for the best vinyl records and turntables.