Sing, listen, and create! Music can be a wonderful learning tool for children that helps develop mental processes and has great educational value. All parents should strive to find ways to integrate music into their child’s life. Sparking an early relationship with music encourages your child to maintain this mentally stimulating interest.
You may be wondering why music is so important for your child. What makes musical learning such a powerful tool is its multifaceted benefits. Listening to music helps develop and sharpen early listening skills, it develops certain neural pathways in the brain, it exposes children to the ideas of harmony and teamwork, and it gives your child an outlet for self expression.
One of the most interesting findings has been associated with studies done on classical music’s effect on the brain. Research has shown that spatial reasoning (the ability to complete certain tasks such as puzzles) is improved when a person listens to classical music. Classical music for kids, such as Mozart’s works, stimulates the spatial pathways in your brain and makes these pathways ready to operate. Playing this type of music for your babies and encouraging your older children to play musical instruments will help them develop these mental pathways.
Playing all types of music in addition to classical pieces is very important for your baby’s mental development. Songs teach your child how to pick up on patterns. Also, singing to your child is a great way to stimulate verbal skills. It is much easier to memorize song lyrics than to memorize a string of spoken words. Becoming familiar with lyrics helps improve early memory skills and brain functions associated with speech.
Listening to musical patterns and musical qualities offers your child another outlet for mental stimulation and learning. Terms such as pitch, volume, rhythm, and tempo represent the many pieces of music. These are also easy topics for you to grasp and teach your child. Familiarizing your child with these terms gives him or her a new set of facts to expand their knowledge with. Engaging in activities in which you ask your child to identify these factors in a song gives your child a way to further develop their mental processes.
Just some pointers for parents:
- Pitch is the highness or lowness of musical notes
- Tempo is how fast the music is
- Rhythm is the pattern of beats and sounds
- Notes tell what pitch and how long a certain sound should be
It’s important to make sure your child understands this information, and then is able to identify each factor in a song that they enjoy listening to.
In addition to music’s relationship with academic and intellectual development music is also an outlet for creativity in children. In music there is not always one “right” way to create a song. A major factor in encouraging creativity is teaching your child that there is not always one “right” answer to a problem (see article Inspiring Creativity in Your Child ). Learning about how to listen to music and how to make music also becomes an outlet of creative self expression.
So, now that you know all about the benefits of music, we have some wonderful ideas for getting your child interested in musical learning. For babies, it’s important to play classical music for them or sing to them. While infants can’t participate in complex activities, you can still bring music into their lives. The introduction of classical music will help develop their mental pathways and singing to your baby gives you a chance to connect with him or her. As your infant grows into a toddler, he or she can start participating in musical activities. Teach your child songs that you can sing together, continue to play classical music, and begin offering different instruments for your child to play with. Introduce basic percussion instruments to begin teaching your child about beats and rhythm. As your children continue to grow, offer more and more instruments. Recorders and pianos offer great ways for you to introduce your child to playing specific musical notes.
To encourage the emotional and creative benefits of music engage your child in many musical activities. One great way to engage your children is to play a song and then ask your children to either write about or discuss their feelings about the song. Ask them about the mood of the song, how it makes them feel, and what it makes them think about. This activity will work with songs that include vocals, but also works excellently with purely instrumental music and classical music. This gives your children a chance to express creative thought and exposes them to a wide range of musical genres.
Overall, make sure your musical learning time is a fun time. Music is a great way to encourage mental stimulation while offering something fun and unique. Make music a part of your child’s life. Encourage your child to listen, learn, and create!
Some reference ideas: http://www.educationaltoysplanet.com/music.html