Music can be an extremely powerful tool for our overall well-being. I’ve already talked about the power of music and how it can be uplifting in our lives, but I also want to emphasize how well it works for children. There is a lot more to music than just rocking babies to sleep with sweet lullabies.
Whether your kid or toddler is learning a new skill or just playing around, exposing them to different kinds of music play an important role in child development.
I’ve seen most parents taking the traditional route and often try to keep their children away from music. They fear that it might meddle with their child’s studies or even make them less-focussed. But that’s really an unwarranted fear. Let me give a few reasons to ease out a little and show you some benefits of music.
1) It activates their sensory systems
When you see your kid playing a musical instrument or even listening to it, you may not see it, but it’s affecting them in many ways. Musical notes that they hear or play are processed simultaneously in both the hemispheres of the brain. Different areas of the brain get activated.
It’s all especially heightened when kids are making music. Their sensory cortex, hippocampus, visual cortex, cerebellum, auditory cortex, motor cortex and other areas are all functioning together.
This experience of making music binds all their sensory systems together. Coordination between them also improves with constant activity.
2) It introduces them to math and physics
Music includes beats, rhythms and scales which fluctuate throughout every song. When a child recalls a song that they heard earlier during the day, they are learning to recognize the patterns of these.
It teaches them to to divide rhythms to recall a particular melody and create fractions of beats when required.Recalling and reciting songs even helps them develop their short-terms as well as long-term memory.
If your child is learning to play a guitar or violin, they are even going to learn more about harmonic vibrations. Drums, tabla, flute and all other music instruments expose them to physics and give them an opportunity to understand their scientific concepts early on in life and at the same time it also inculcate self discipline.
3) It opens them up to other cultures
The best part about music is that it breaks all barriers of language and culture. Even if we do not understand the words of a foreign language, we may enjoy songs sung in a different language. That’s the reason why Bollywood songs and K-pop are popular all across the world.
When you listen to a song in a foreign language, you may not realize it but your brain is actively trying to grasp words and form a familiar pattern of them for you. It’s called passive learning. That’s why you may find yourself trying to hum a Korean number even hours after you’ve heard it.
It’s a gateway into learning a new language, but that requires a lot of patience and practice. But, what it always does instantly, is to open you up to a different cultures. You can get to know more about their dressing style, their movies and even get a glimpse of the life in different countries across the world. In general, it can make you a more cultured person.
Listening to music in different languages comes with an added bonus. You can connect with native speakers of a language and even use music as a conversation starter with foreigners which in turn will make you self dependent.
4) It can help you bond with them
Even a two-minute song everyday can help you deepen your bond with your child. A study done in McGill University, Montreal, Quebec in 2013 even showed that listening to music also releases opioids in your body. They can make us feel more relaxed. Music is also known to release oxytocin which is often dubbed as a “cuddle hormone”.
Through music, you can also get to know more about your child’s preferences and their interest areas. Listening to music together is just a simple yet effective way to bond with your children.
5) It helps them express themselves more freely
Words may fail us, but different art forms come to our rescue when we want to truly express ourselves. Music also provides a creative platform for kids to express their inner thoughts, ideas and emotions more freely.
Music therapy is an important part of building self-esteem especially for kids with special needs. Various studies have found that individuals who are affected by autism or Williams syndrome have preserved their musical abilities well despite challenges in functioning of other areas of the body.
Children with special needs often have to have the demons of isolation and withdrawal from the society. Music can give them something to stay motivated with while also improving their motor, social and communication skills.