How To Raise Music-Loving Children
Somewhere in the world, a toddler has just learned to stand and take their first wobbly steps to mom as the music of Beethoven, Mozart and Vivaldi plays in the background. In another part of the planet, a 5-year-old dances with their older siblings to the tune of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Elsewhere, a 7-year-old has started learning the ukulele with dad so they could sing and play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for grandma and grandpa when they come to visit.
All over the world, children are being exposed to music, and it’s not just keeping them entertained. It’s helping them grow and express themselves as well.
Numerous studies have supported the idea that music education and exposure facilitates child development. By constantly exposing your children to music at home, you can help them develop a lasting appreciation for music that will be beneficial to them as they grow older.
How exactly does music benefit growing children and what can you do to foster an appreciation for music in your own kids? Take a look.
Developmental benefits of music education and exposure
According to research, music helps children’s bodies and minds work together. Music is essential in igniting various areas of child development and helps them build the necessary skills to prepare them for school. Through exposure to music in early development, children learn sounds and word meanings, build motor skills, strengthen their memory and a host of other developmental benefits.
Enhancement of brain function
Neuroscience research has shown that music can help enhance children’s brain function. Music-related activities such as listening to music, singing and playing an instrument stimulate various areas of the brain and results in the formation of new neural connections, which leads to brain growth and enhanced brain function.
Development of language and math skills
Because of the development of the different regions of the brain, children who are exposed to music are also able to develop language skills, such as reading and speaking, more easily. In addition to linguistic intelligence, children with music in their lives also develop spatial intelligence, which helps them form mental pictures of objects and allows them to recognize patterns and solve mathematical problems.
Increased memory and focus
Musically inclined people have also exhibited better working memory and an enhanced ability to pay attention and concentrate on tasks. These skills are important in daily life, especially for children going to school and learning new things every day.
Development of social and emotional skills
Making music or dancing with friends and family gives children the opportunity to interact with other people and helps them develop social and emotional skills, such as empathy. These skills also go hand-in-hand with communication skills, which enable children to express themselves while being considerate of others.
Musical activities such as dancing and playing an instrument help in developing children’s motor skills. Moving to music, strumming the guitar or tinkling the keys of a piano involves not only the hands and eyes but also different muscle groups working in coordination.
Those are just some of the top benefits of music to growing children. Here’s what you can do at home to expose your children to music as much as possible.
Musical activities for children
Learning to play a musical instrument is one of the best ways to foster a love of music. Playing an instrument allows children not only to express themselves but also gain a sense of accomplishment that helps in building self-confidence. But aside from signing up your children for music or guitar classes, what else can you do to develop an appreciation of music at home? Here are some great ideas!
Listen to music
Introduce your child to music by playing some soothing tunes at home. For infants, you can start with the works of classical composers then add variety as your child grows older. This will help them become familiar with different sounds, music genres and instruments.
Sing lullabies and nursery rhymes when putting your baby to sleep or playing with them and they are more likely to join in as they grow older and develop their verbal skills. You can even make up silly ditties about eating, bathing, dressing, picking up toys and other activities. Singing together also promotes family bonds and makes music a part of your child’s daily life.
Help your child develop a sense of rhythm and movement by dancing to different tunes. Show them how to clap their hands, stomp their feet, jump, wave their arms, do the twist – this also helps develop coordination and is a good exercise to boot!
Musical toys such as rattles, toy drums and xylophones enable children to discover the different sounds that objects make and prepares them for music instruction. You can even make your own musical toys!
Supporting children’s music education: Tips for parents
When your child shows a deeper appreciation for music and expresses interest in learning an instrument, you can show your support in a number of ways. Here are our top tips!
- Help your child identify and choose the instrument they want to learn. If they are unsure of what instrument to play, take them to a music store or school where they can check out and try different instruments until they take a liking to a particular instrument. The most common musical instruments for kids are the piano, violin, ukulele and guitar.
- Keep your child inspired by taking them to live music performances or letting them watch concert videos.
- Help them plan a music class schedule they can commit to.
- Provide a quiet space for learning and practicing music, somewhere they would not be bothered by noise and other distractions.
- Teach them how to clean, tune and store their instrument properly.
- Help them build self-confidence by putting on a show for family and friends.
- Let them choose the music they want to play at home and in the car for everyone’s listening pleasure, and encourage them to talk about why they like it.
- Listen to them when they talk about what they’ve learned and how they feel about their playing.
- Keep track of their progress through video recordings and show these to them to motivate them to keep going.
- Make music together! This promotes family bonds and is a great way to strengthen your relationship with your child. If you don’t know how to play an instrument, there are plenty of music lessons online you can check out. It’s never too late to learn!