Benefits of Music for children
After 12 years of teaching kids music, and 6 semesters of Music Together, we've realised that music has massive benefits for young kids. From babies till 6 years old, early childhood music programs do more than teach music. They nurture relationships within families, build confidence and expand brain function. Here are our Top 10 benefits we have seen over the years with our students.
- It will boost their brain power. There are so many aspects of music that improve not just IQ and EQ, but also executive functions - the key to success in life. You'll be amazed how much kids learn, absorb, understand, and can create if you give them the right environment and opportunity.
- It will improve their memory. Singing in rounds, harmonizing or singing ostinatos not only aid with memory, but also focus and attention. This also comes back to the executive functions. (I also know this as a true fact because my dad used to say I can remember all the lyrics to the songs, so I had better remember my school work too! *gulp*)
- It helps them socially. Music breaks down inhibition. There's no language barrier to music making. Making music encourages interaction between family members and friends, as well as confidence and self-exploration. Music is inclusive - Don't know the words? Then we'll sing without words! Finally, there's no 'right' way - only experimentation and mirroring.
- It's a confidence builder. When you're 2 or 3 years old, and what you suggested is what everyone is doing, you're going to feel pretty darn good. We need to allow kids to create, explore and experiment in as many different areas as possible.
- It teaches patience. Our classes teach children about delayed gratification. They don't get all the props at once. Actually each class only has three songs with props. Many times in class we also ask for suggestions from parents and children. Kids must wait their turn if they've already suggested something to allow others to offer input. And in waiting for their turn and listening to their classmates suggestions, kids learn to show their peers respect and build the confidence of the child who spoke up.
- It can help them connect. For some children, our music program and songs allow them to connect and deal with emotions better. It helps them feel in control of their feelings, allows them to calm down and come back down from a highly anxious or angry state. For other families, connection comes from doing and being together. It's rare for kids to get 100% of parents attention these days. So in our classes, kids get 100% of their parents attention for the full class. (We hope this continues at home with our music CD, songbook and instrument sets!)
- It's constant learning. Humans grow. We always want growth. If you don't believe me, then why do people want more stuff (money, higher education, bigger house, high game scores). The more we nourish ourselves, and encourage a growth mentality in our children the greater their adaptability and future will be.
- It's a great form of expression. As mentioned earlier, kids at an early age need to know it's ok to make mistakes. We need to create an environment for them to safely create, try-out, experiment and explore how their mind and body work. Expression can only occur after input (being exposed) and allowing the brain to filter out, work out and create. Free dance or play-along sessions bring out the best in people after they have done all the 'work'.
- It teaches discipline. Can you imagine 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 4 year olds all waiting to grab their instruments? And can you imagine them all queuing up to put them back in the bag without any negotiations? In our classes, we build trust, fun and consistency. Our programs help to mange the energy of the class and the children, so there are times when kids can run around, and others where we bring the focus right in. Without realising it, kids follow along and build their own discipline.
- It fosters creativity. Our classes are not typical music classes. We don't hold their hand and say this is the correct way to hit a drum or hold the sticks. Instead, we ask the kids, how else can we use the sticks? How would you like to play with the egg shakers? Would you like to do a rhythm pattern? Can you offer a different dance movement? Over time, children's voices are louder than ours (the teachers). Through our music program and all the variations, they advance through comparing and contrasting. They learn to create, adapt, and explore a larger variety of styles, speeds, volumes, beats, pitches and movements.
How as music benefited you and your kids? Leave us a comment below.