13 January 2017
What can music do for young children? Quite a lot, according to a large and growing body of research on early childhood music education. Musicians and music teachers emphasize the enhancement to human life and enjoyment that music can bring regardless of other benefits, yet the other benefits are considerable too.
Take language ability. Research demonstrates that children who undergo musical instruction have greater verbal language recall and more highly developed areas of the brain that process language. Math: Music builds pattern recognition skills, enhances facility with division and part/whole relationships and contributes to children’s ability to solve multi-step problems and visualize solutions. Self-regulation: Playing music in a group reinforces turn-taking, reciprocal listening and cooperation. Social and cultural awareness: Music is a beautiful window into other cultures and ways of knowing the world, and it is easier to access and share than other forms of expression. Combined with movement and dance, music enhances children’s body awareness, balance, bilateral coordination and overall muscle development. Music uses and integrates more parts of the brain simultaneously than any other activity.
The single best way you can help your child better understand and appreciate music is to sing, no matter how well or otherwise you sound, at any and all opportunities. Young children respond best to the human voice. CDs and on-line recorded music are poor second cousins to the real deal.