Discovery Point Blog
Sing, Dance, Play, & Learn! Music is Essential!
Many people who have a love for music say that passion was sparked in their youth. When an understanding of and appreciation for music is nurtured throughout childhood and integrated into everyday life, children can reap the benefits of expanding their horizons.
Music gives children the ability to better understand themselves through expression and reflects the world around them. A focus on music offers them the chance to see art as something that is part of themselves, and musicality can help them develop a sense for subtleties they use throughout their lives.
Understanding the Importance of Early Exposure to Music
Music has been shown to help children develop in a number of areas. Below, we’ve listed a few of the known benefits musical education can bring to the learning and development of children.
Coordination and skill building.
When children learn about music, they tap into several senses and leverage different skill sets simultaneously – from their sense of hearing and sight to their fine motor skills and coordination.
Children are born ready to start decoding and understanding different sounds and words, and musical training can help sharpen this natural penchant for language. Music education promotes the capacity for processing language and verbal competency.
Enhanced neural activity.
Studies have been conducted on music’s effects on the neurological development of children. One study, published by E. Glenn Schellenberg in Psychological Science, showed a higher IQ in children who received music education.
Another study by Dr. Ellen Winner from Boston College and Dr. Gottfried Schlaug from Harvard Medical School used brain imaging to show the changes in neural networks that occurred over 15 months of weekly musical education.
Better test scores.
Studying music can help increase focus during tasks that require high concentration and can also improve memory recall abilities — two capacities that are essential for good performance on standardized tests.
Bringing Music Into the Your Child’s Life
Just because music has proven benefits for children doesn’t mean you should just throw your child into piano lessons tomorrow. In fact, taking an approach to music that doesn’t jive with your child’s personality or interests could cause them to hold a grudge against the very thing you’re hoping they’ll develop an appreciation for.
Fortunately, there are both fun and educational ways to bring music into your child’s life. Best of all, you can do these activities along with them, increasing the quality time you spend together as well as your own exposure to mood-boosting music.
Here are some simple, enjoyable, and effective musical activities to start incorporating into your family’s routine or your child’s play time.
Learn Sing-Along Folk Songs
Folk songs are passed down from generation to generation for a reason. They’re catchy, easy to remember, and are often humorous or have a nugget of wisdom to share. Learning and, more importantly, singing folk songs as a family can help your child experience the joys of singing from an early age and prevent them from developing the anxiety that is common as we grow older about the quality of our singing voice.
Show your child that it doesn’t matter what you choose to sing or how it sounds. The most important thing is to sing and enjoy the experience of expressing yourself.
Make an Instrument
Playing an instrument is fulfilling in and of itself, but playing an instrument that you’ve made with your own hands truly feels magical. Crafting an instrument at home can help children gain skills in music, science, and art as they begin to understand how different types of materials and textures can generate different sounds.
From rubber bands to wooden spoons and rice to tin cans, there are plenty of objects lying around your home that are just waiting to be transformed into something musical.
Music and dance are intimately linked – it is hard to dance without music and, well, when there’s music on, it’s hard not to dance. Many types of music across the globe have even been developed for the specific purpose of allowing people to dance to it.
While there’s nothing more fun than turning on your favorite bop and doing a freestyle dance to it, learning a new style of dance is also a joy. Have your children take a look at instructional videos online to start learning the steps to the samba, cha cha, swing dance, tap dance, folk dance, and more
Unleash your children’s creativity by encouraging them to compose songs of their own. Start by helping them determine what theme or mood they want to write about, or take a close listen to one of their favorite songs and have them explain what they love about it. Then, they can either start tapping out a beat that inspires them or begin writing down lyrics in the style of a poem.
What’s important here is to avoid feeling the finished product has to be perfect or complete in some way. The goal is to help your child tap into their creative expression and see what’s possible as they discover their musical muse.
Music is the gift that keeps on giving. Give your child the gift of a musical childhood, and it will enrich every part of their lives as they discover who they are and what they are capable of. Through these activities, we hope both you and your children can ignite a lasting passion for music.