We are all naturally drawn to music. We sing the nursery songs to our baby that we learned as kids. We play music to lift our mood as we drive in the car.
“Nothing activates as many areas of the brain as music,” according to researcher Donald Hodges, Covington Distinguished Professor of Music Education and director of the Music Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Music is probably already a part of your life in one form or another. But music research give us even more reasons to intentionally incorporate music and song into our child’s world!
Your Child’s Brain Benefits from Music Exposure and Music Education Because…
Some Musical Capabilities are Acquired Through Mere Exposure to Music
Just listen and learn! By simply exposing our children to quality music we can help develop in them an aptitude for music. Don’t you love it when giving our children a love and talent for one of the best things in life is that easy! (A study at the University of Amsterdam in 2008 concluded the above statement.)
- TIP: Expose Your Children to Exceptional Music
Give your children the best! Of course, we play the music we love. But be sure to expose them to a variety of music from classical to folk. Stretch yourself! There are many CDs for children on the market that are poorly produced. Just like with literature, aim for original works and renowned musicians.
“When children learn rhythm, they are learning ratios, fractions and proportions,” says Professor Gordon Shaw, University of California, Irvine, after his study of seven year-olds in Los Angeles. We are giving our children a boost in math comprehension when we make music a part of their lives.
Music Enhances Your Child’s Intellectual Development
Dr. Frances Rauscher, from the University of Wisconsin, says that music “helps improve children’s ability to reason abstractly by strengthening neural firing patterns of the brain that are relevant to both musical and spatial cognition.”
“The Mozart Effect,” the term trademarked by Don Campbell, makes claims that listening to Mozart’s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks like spatial-temporal reasoning.
Experiences with Music Reinforce Language Mastery & Future Reading
“Even the youngest infant is wired to receive music and discriminate among differences in frequency, melody, and stimuli,” states Lili M. Levinowitz, Ph.D, a professor of music education at Rowan University of New Jersey, Glassboro. Spoken language has its own rhythm. Early music exposure helps to establish some of the building blocks for strong language skills and literacy.
Higher Academic Achievement
Higher academic achievement scores resulted for students who participated in formal music education than for those who did not, studies concluded. I’m not a big believer in the ability of standardized tests to accurately measure intellect. However, these findings continue to support the idea that music education has a positive affect on a child’s scholastic development.
Music and Singing Have Advantages for Mom Too
Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the bloodstream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting,” sites Professor Graham Welch of the University of London, who has studied developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years. So sing! You may burn some extra calories and strengthen your lungs!
Singing Reduces Stress Levels
“Singing reduces stress levels through the action of the endocrine system, which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being,” notes Professor Grahm Welch again. What mom couldn’t use that!
Singing Brings Joy & Can Change the Atmosphere of Our Homes
Especially when the music involves praising God! When I feel a heaviness around the house, playing worship music breaks right through it and lifts my eyes to heaven!
No wonder the Bible says, “Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.” (Psalms 33:1). He knew we’d benefit! Having a heart filled with praise is one of God’s beauty secrets!
There is no prerequisite to carry a tune! Sing away and expose your kids to exceptional music!