Singing and music play an important role in our culture. Music is present in many activities of our lives: theater, television, movies, worship, holidays, celebrations, and government and military ceremonies. At home, music can become part of our family culture — a natural part of our everyday life.
From birth, parents instinctively use music to calm and soothe children, to express 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 children of all ages.
Music and the Brain
A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. According to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM Foundation), learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores.
Academic accomplishments aren’t the only benefit of music exposure and education. Music helps in all areas of child development and provides them with necessary skills to be prepared for school. Music helps your child’s body and mind to work together. The exposure of children to music during early development stages helps them to learn sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children to express themselves and strengthens their memory.
In addition to its benefits in the development of your child, it brings them joy. Particularly music that spells out their name and sings a song in their name.
Music Games for Kids of All Ages
Children of all ages express themselves through music. Even young infants sway, bounce, or move their hands in response to music. Many preschoolers make up songs and sing their own song as they play. Children 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 favourite bands, and use music to form friendships and share feelings. Try these activities and games with your children to experience the pleasure and learning that music brings.
Infants and Music: Infants recognise a song before they even understand the meaning of the words. Relaxing and background music can soothe infants particularly at their sleep time. Let your infant listen to simple short songs and try to make up one or two lines about eating, dressing and bathing.
Toddlers and Music: Toddlers always love to dance and move to music. The key to toddler music is repetition, which encourages language and memorisation. Silly songs make toddlers laugh. Try to make your toddler listen to a song and insert a silly word in the song, which will make your toddler laugh. Encourage your toddler to clap their hands and reproduce the rhythms by tapping on objects.
Preschoolers and Music: Preschoolers enjoy singing. They like songs that repeat words and melodies, use rhythms with a definite beat, and ask them to do things. Preschool children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about familiar things like animals, and people.
School-Age Children and Music: Most young school-age children are intrigued by kids’ singalong songs that involve counting or spelling. School-age children begin expressing their likes and dislikes of various types of music.
From the moment we’re born we enjoy the benefits of music. Music helps to enrich the lives of children and their carers.
More on Children and Music
• Tired of hearing the same children’s songs played over and over again? Here are some music suggestions that are appropriate for both kids and adults.