Music class is often seen as an “extra” for children. It is even called an “extracurricular” at times. However, if people truly understood the value of music education for young children, it would not be viewed as something extra but as a necessity for all children alongside math and reading. So what exactly are the benefits of music education? Here are just a few:
Increased language abilities:
Research shows that the parts of the brain used for language and music are related and that young children who are exposed to music consistently have greater language skills. Sometimes children who are struggling with speech can express themselves better through song than through words alone.
Music requires memory and improves the memory center of the brain. Memorizing tunes and lyrics exercises this muscle in the brain. In addition, music can be used as a memory aid to remember facts, lists, etc. (Does anyone else still sing the Alphabet Song when you have to alphabetize “L, M, N, O, P”?)
Problem solving and mental processing:
Musicians have been found to process and comprehend their surroundings and understand emotions in others better than non musicians. If you consider a pianist who is reading at least 4 notes at a time, listening to their own sound and perhaps the sound of other musicians, thinking about dynamics, rhythm, timbre, and fingering, you begin to understand the complex processing skills that are required to make beautiful music.
Music improves listening skills in children which can aid in relational skills and learning comprehension. While music is often thought of as only a listening activity, making music is actually an activity of seeing, doing, thinking and feeling all while listening.
Music class is a social activity where students must work as a team, follow instructions, relate to the teacher and other students, and participate in group activities. If your child is struggling with social skills, music class is a fun environment where these skills can be improved.
Playing instruments certainly requires significant hand-eye coordination. Even playing simple rhythm instruments like we use in our early childhood classes will help improve motor skills in children. In addition, early childhood music classes use scarves, ribbons, hand motions, clapping, and large muscle movements like marching, hopping, etc. to teach gross motor skills.
Creating music is a wonderful, magical endeavor, but it can also be an intense, life-long pursuit. It takes patience and perseverance to learn a song and even more endurance to become a proficient musician. These character qualities can start to be developed through music even at a young age while still keeping music fun and enjoyable.
I recently talked to a friend who teaches early childhood music classes and she told me about a young student who came to her class who had never spoken or sung. After a few weeks in music class, she started to sing along and her mother had tears of gratitude at the transformation that had occurred in her young daughter. Music is transformative even in the very young. If you would like to see your child improve in any of the areas above, enroll in our early childhood music classes and see the difference it can make in your child’s life.
Source: New England Board of Higher Education, Tuning In: Six Benefits of Music Education for Kids, by Jenny Silverstone