What can music
do for my baby?
People always seem to be talking about the benefits of music for babies and toddlers. Everywhere you look you can find sing-along tapes, DVD’s, CD’s, and more. So what is everyone so worked up about? In this article, we are going to get into why music is good for your baby and other specifics to help you join in on the fun and learning!
First and foremost,
music is fun. That and that alone should be enough reason for you
and your little one to starting singing and dancing together right
away. After all, emotional bonding is at least as good a benefit,
if not more so, than educational advantages. Speaking of which,
there are many educational advantages to be had, but we will discuss
those in a moment. Another great reason to mix kids and music is to
help boost motor skill development. “Kids learn through
movement," says Rosalie Pratt, a professor of music medicine at
Brigham Young University. "When you see them at play, they're
not talking, they're moving. This is how they pick things up.”
Some experts have gone so far as to say that children exposed to
music at an early age learn faster and easier, and therefore become
more intelligent. However, very little data yet exists to validate
this point. "The science is in its infancy," says Gordon
Shaw, a physics professor and neuroscientist who studies music and
brain development at the University of California at Irvine. The
bottom line is this: Music inspires children to move. It inspires
creative thought, group play, and elevates moods. And, because each
child is different in their own way, the possibilities of what music
can do for your child are endless.
Well that sounds great, but what type should I play?
According to Professor Pratt, children should be able to listen to whatever type of music they respond to most positively. Now, because of their young age, I would venture to say that most children don’t have enough exposure or experience to ‘pick’ a genre right away. In fact, many music loving adults can’t choose just one. ry out all of the favorites. Jazz, classical, pop and country are always safe bets. However, you could experiment with alternatives such as new age, ambient, electronic, dance, techno, etc. Another idea would be to spice things up with tunes from other countries and cultures. Try something Brazilian or Irish. Essentially, anything with a good melody will do, although slower, mellower songs may be better suited for bedtime/naptime. Don’t forget to experiment. Maybe try playing something classical and chipper in the mornings to motivate your baby for the day. Again, the possibilities are endless.
Just because your little one is too young to speak, or to speak clearly at least, doesn’t mean they cannot benefit from music with lyrics. Obviously, the lyrics should be age appropriate, but be sure to have fun. Anything from “Old MacDonald” to a popular radio tune will work. And remember, sometimes it’s OK to set aside all of the technology. Turn off the boom box, TV, and radio and simply sing aloud. This kind of spontaneous behavior will often shock and amaze your child right into a fit of laughter and fun.
listened, danced, and sang. What more is there to do with music?
If they are at least 3 years old, they can learn to make/play it themselves. Banging on pots is one form, but when they have turned three their brain circuits for music training begin to mature. Studies suggest that music lessons, whether they have any musical talent or not, can increase brain capacity in your child. One study at the University of California, Irvine shows that 3- and 4-year-olds who took piano lessons performed better on tests that measured their spatial-temporal reasoning than those who didn't. Basically, this means that the abstract pat of the brain that helps you build coordination, solve puzzles, and create things through art that manage to be aesthetically pleasing was enhanced by lessons in music. Sounds like a good deal, right? They may never be the next Chopin, but those one or two years alone can enhance their abilities to succeed at many different aspects of life.
Still unconvinced? The study at UC was not the only one that came up with those
Another study placed the focus on older children, and suggested that music lessons do sharpen the mind. Scientists at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, whose research was published in the journal Nature in 1998, claim that children who have studied at least six years of music lessons prior to reaching age 12 learn more words than those who haven’t. Researchers conducted their study by reading 16-word lists three times to 60 different girls. Those children who had studied music remembered more than those who had not.
Martin Gardiner of the Music School in Providence, Rhode Island, closely examined the effects of music and art lessons on a group of 5 to 7 year old kids who had been previously labeled as "underperformers" in their schools. After just seven months of music lessons, they were re-tested in the subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Al of the children were found to have not only caught up with their peers in reading and writing, but surpassed them in mathematics.
Studies, official and unofficial, have proven without a doubt that there are some, if not many, good side effects to raising your child in a music friendly environment. Increasing your child’s chances of happiness and success on an academic level, providing an outlet for and aiding in the development of emotions, and simply bringing them closer to you are all, in my opinion, excellent reasons for including music in the life of your child. Personally, I think everyone should try it.
This blog post was provided by Stephanie Parker - our blog writer extraordinaire!