The mental and emotional development of children is most crucial during the early years of their lives. Music is one of the many ways by which parents can facilitate this aspect of their growth.
Early musical training helps to improve verbal memory skills in young children, so it's important that we know how this art form can help shape the minds of our little ones.
The benefits of early musical training
Music is an activity that engages the whole brain, which allows children to store information into their long-term memories more easily.
It helps to improve memory through rhyme, rhythm and melody. Children with musical training have shown significantly better verbal memory skills compared with children without such instruction1.
When pre-schoolers are exposed to early musical training2, over a period of time they can grow to have a better memory for words, find it easier to learn in school, and better remember experiences that they encounter in their daily lives.
Music can also act as emotional therapy for kids. Upbeat songs for instance, can help to sustain a positive frame of mind for kids too.
On top of that, music can help to enhance your child’s concentration levels. Songs that your kids love can help them to stay on task3, while helping them cope better with stress too. Practice, performances, and musical examinations can help children build self-discipline and self-confidence as well.
Last but not least, music is an excellent means for self-expression. As an art form, it can foster creativity and imagination. It can act as a creative medium of expression, no matter your age.
Help your kids learn to love music
Keep in mind that you need to first help your child cultivate an interest in music before your child can reap the benefits later on.
Expose your child to a variety of music, from classical to pop, as far as possible, be it through playing some selection at home, or taking the little one to music concerts or orchestra performances. Your child will learn to appreciate music as an art form too.
If you are going to enrol your child in a course to learn a musical instrument, be selective about the music school so that your little one learns in a happy and nurturing environment. Group music lessons will also help to build your children’s social skills, while bonding with their peers.
Allow your child to choose the instrument he or she is interested in. This would be the greatest motivation for kids to persevere and eventually attain mastery of the musical instrument.
1'One year of musical training affects development of auditory cortical-evoked fields in young children'. Fujioka, Takako; Ross, Bernhard; Kakigi, Ryusuke; Pantev, Christo; Trainor, Laurel J. Brain, 2006, 2593–2608. Retrieved on August 27, 2015 from Oxford University Press: http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/brain/129/10/2593.full.pdf.
2Medical News Today. Retrieved on August 27, 2015, from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287458.php.
3'Network Science and the Effects of Music Preference on Functional Brain Connectivity: From Beethoven to Eminem'. Wilkins, R W; Hodges, D A; Laurienti, P J; Steen, M; Burdette, J H. Scientific Reports 4, 2014. Retrieved on August 27, 2015 from Nature.com: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep06130.