Music is good for us
Throughout my life, I have always been aware of the main ways in which music affects me. Listening to music has served me well by helping to release stress, boost concentration, and simply elevate my mood. But now as a parent, while experiencing music with my kids, I have noticed other aspects through them that are beneficial as well.
After searching online, I found a great article which highlights some of these qualities that music can instil in our little ones. Janelle Durham is an educator, social worker, and parent who uses research-based content on her blog (Good Days with Kids). There is a lot of excellent material there and you can view the original article here. She also has made a teachable PDF version of this, which I will include at the bottom.
Benefits of Singing with Your Child
- Musical skills: Singing builds skills in matching tone, keeping a steady rhythm, varying speed and volume, expressing emotion through the voice, etc.
- Mathematical and spatial skills: Children who have taken music classes score higher on math tests. Music enhances brain development in areas tied to pattern recognition, counting, organization, time, and division of larger notes into smaller notes (ie: fractions).
- Vocabulary: Music introduces children to the sounds and meanings of a wide range of words and helps strengthen memory skills.
- Literacy: Alphabet and number songs help children remember letter and number sequences.
- Rhymes and Prediction: As children sing, they learn about rhymes. Rhymes can help them learn to predict things… “if this line ends with star, the next line must be the one that ends with are.”
- Predictability and Cause & Effect: When you sing the same song to your baby or child over and over, they learn to expect what is coming next… “After mom says, ‘with a one step, and a two step’ she’s going to tickle me!”
- Tradition: Music is a unique and powerful way for children to connect to their roots. An African-American spiritual, a Yiddish or Irish lullaby, a Mexican folk song… all introduce a child to the family’s heritage in a way that goes beyond words or pictures.
- Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills: In the book Brain Rules for Babies, John Medina says that one of the most powerful things about music is that when a child learns to recognize different musical tones, they also learn to recognize different emotional tones, and can tell more about how the people around them are feeling. Even young babies who were exposed to music classes had improved communication; they were more likely to point to objects, wave goodbye, smile, and show less distress.
- Attachment: Music can foster emotional attachment. From the first day of our babies’ lives, music can be a way to make a connection – they love to hear the sound of your voice (and recognize both parent’s voices from hearing them in the womb). And pretty soon, the songs start becoming familiar and recognizable, and a part of their safe and secure environment.
- Routines and Transitions: Familiar songs create a sense of comfort for a child. No matter where you are, you always have access to this same familiar tune. Many parents and teachers learn the value of songs for reinforcing routines (“this is the song we always sing at bedtime”) and signalling that its time to transition from one activity to the next (the cleanup song)!
I hope that you are able to try some of this out! Whether through singing, playing an instrument, or simply listening to music, there are so many positive effects at work. And if you are looking for some great music that's suitable for both children and parents, please check out my playlist on Spotify. It's free!
Here is the PDF version of this article which you can download here.
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