What is the importance of music for children?
Both listening to and learning to play music impacts children in a positive way.
by Melodie Cannon
“What a tragedy it would be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children.” ~H. Norman Schwarzkoph
The Importance of Music in My Life
I have enjoyed music my entire life. I was exposed to music of varying genres ranging anywhere between Gospel music to hard rock and classical to nursery rhymes. I’ve always enjoyed singing, dancing, listening and eventually playing music. I cannot thoroughly express how important music was to me in my youth. I believe that music is what made me who I am.
Music for Children
In fact, it has been proven that music is extremely beneficial for children in their developmental skills. Music can connect the body to the brain, enabling the two to work together in sync. This can improve a child’s motor, social, emotional, intellectual, language and literacy skills as well as learning sounds and the meanings of words during their early development.
A study in 2016, from the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, discovered that when children are exposed to music, it actually increases the development of the brain, specifically in areas such as language and reading.
Music for Infants, Toddlers and Young Children
Parents often incorporate music into their young child’s daily schedule to calm them, express their love and engage or interact with them. Young infants can even recognize melodies before they can understand or form words on their own.
Children, especially toddlers, enjoy songs that are silly or relatable to them in their learning and vocabulary. Such songs could include Twinkle Twinkle, Head and Shoulders, If You’re Happy and You Know It and The Wheels on the Bus.
Toddlers love songs that involve movement of their body, as well as repetition. For example, Head and Shoulders helps children learn the basic names and locations of their body. It gets them moving, which toddlers enjoy doing.
Old MacDonald is a popular song in the toddler realm because it’s a simple song that is basically endless. It’s quite repetitive, only replacing animal names and their sounds throughout each round of the song. Old MacDonald aids in the learning of animals and their songs.Common topics for toddlers’ music are toys, animals, their body, daily activities, and family members.
A lot of children’s movies or shows involve music, which may teach them certain things according to the child’s age. PBS Kids is a great place for kids to learn music and other educational skills. Sesame Street is a famous children’s show that involves music to teach numbers, letters, colors, shapes and basic social studies.
Have you even wondered why Disney movies are mostly musical? I think it’s because the movies are geared towards children, who are naturally attracted to music. Music will keep their attention span on the movie and will hopefully give them something that they can remember. Children are more likely to remember musical lines than lines from a movie that is not put to music.
For children who have minor or severe health problems, music has been proven to help relieve pain, reduce stress and anxiety, improve breathing, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and relax muscles. Music Therapy is often used in the medical field to aid children and help them cope with their illness. Children are given the experience to listen to music, learn an instrument, compose their music or just sing and dance along. It has been proven that children who learn how to play an instrument while fighting a sickness in the hospital experience a positive impact in their health and recovery. Although fighting an illness is not the only reason why playing an instrument is important for children. Learning how to play an instrument is beneficial for any and every child.
How Music Impacts Teens
For most teens, music is a way for them to escape or cope with their daily lives. They may also use music to express their feelings and life experiences. Teens who have formed their own band (known as a garage band) usually use this as a way to do something fun, inspiring and important with their friends.
Listening to or playing an instrument at a young age can influence a teen’s academic performance in mathematics and SAT scores.
Most of the time it is important for the child to choose what instrument they want to learn how to play, rather than forcing a child to play an instrument they aren’t interested in. A child should be excited and enthusiastic about learning to play, not tortured and miserable. Because of this, children should be exposed to several instruments so that they can wisely and easily choose which one they want or are interested in playing.
Music can also teach children about responsibility. Any instrument requires maintenance and upkeep such as tuning or oiling. Children can be exposed to history and culture through the study of music by learning about the various musical eras, genres, history, and historic people such as conductors and composers. Children of all ages can be exposed to music in so many various ways; through CD’s, the radio, movies, school programs, observing a family member or friend play … the possibilities are endless!