Music is important for the development and relationship of the child
Recent studies by psychologists have shown that playing music with children and even just listening to music contribute to the development of the children’s brain. At the same time, other studies have shown that if parents listen to music with their children, sing songs or dance, this positively affects the relationship between them.
In other words, music has many advantages for children. Let’s consider them in more detail.
The influence of music on the development of the children’s brain
Studies in which various neuroimaging techniques have been used have shown that teaching children music at an early age (up to 7 years) causes physical changes in the structure and functions of the brain.
In one of these studies, it was found that when playing music in the corpus callosum (the area in the central part of the brain responsible for coordination between the hemispheres), the amount of white matter increases. In other words, the number of neural connections between the hemispheres increases. For example, Albert Einstein is known to have been playing the violin since childhood, and a study of his brain showed unusually strong connections between different parts.
Another study showed that early learning of music increases the amount of gray matter in the cerebral cortex, especially in its sensorimotor region. Thus, the child develops coordination. It has also been found that improved coordination in turn improves emotional regulation and the ability to suppress negative emotional reactions to events. In other words, music lessons from an early age increase the child’s ability to cope with disappointments and avoid unnecessarily emotional reactions to difficult situations.
Another discovery was that even short music lessons lead to increased blood flow in the left hemisphere. This contributes to the development of language perception ability.
In 2018, during a study, a group of American scientists proved that children from infancy respond to listening to music, and this lesson contributes to the development of their speech skills. It was also found that, in addition to speech skills, music has a positive effect on the development of other cognitive functions (such as attention, visual-spatial perception and executive functions).
The relationship between music and brain functioning has been the subject of much research by psychologists. The use of neuroimaging techniques in studies conducted over the past few years has shown that music activates all parts of the brain. This applies to all people, not just children.
For musicians, playing the instruments not only activates the brain, but also develops it. In general, musicians have more neural connections between the hemispheres of the brain than other groups of people. They also have good long-term memory, hearing and cognitive flexibility. Due to neuroplasticity (the emergence of new neural connections), these functions develop.
Simply put, playing musical instruments and listening to music “rebuild” the brain, strengthening existing neural circuits or forming new ones.
The impact of music on academic performance
Experts in the field of child development agree that listening to music develops children’s listening skills and also helps them overcome learning difficulties. However, the results of recent studies show that active music lessons can have many additional positive effects for a child.
Among other things, music lessons develop:
speech perception, language skills and literacy;
oral counting skills;
attention and concentration;
The influence of music on social and emotional development
Playing a musical instrument can cause a child to have a sense of achievement, as well as increase his self-esteem. Also, the child can develop self-confidence, perseverance in overcoming difficulties with learning, self-discipline, etc.
American scientists conducted an experiment in which they studied the social development of children, in particular, such characteristics as competence, self-confidence, concern for others and cohesion. The study involved 180 children aged 8 to 17 years. For three years, children, in addition to the usual school curriculum, made music in school orchestras. The experiment showed that all participants in the experiment showed a significant improvement in all of the studied characteristics.
Music lessons are best started from an early age.
Listening to music or learning to play musical instruments is useful at any age, even as an adult. This causes a sense of self-satisfaction and positive changes in the brain. However, experts believe that the maximum benefit can be achieved when the child began to make music before the age of seven.
Today’s parents are increasingly turning on their child music from the first months of life. Young mothers sing songs to their children and buy them musical toys.