When children are exposed to music and musical play, from the earliest of ages, the impact is quite profound.
As children explore music through play, they make discoveries about themselves and the world around them, develop a larger vocabulary and important pre-reading and math skills, and strengthen their social and emotional skills. Exposure to music from a young age also helps children's ability to play and appreciate music.
From enhancing hand-eye coordination, to practicing fine and gross motor skills and much more, see below for five reasons why music is important for early childhood development according to Carnegie Hall.
Making music, especially through tapping or clapping and movement, can help enhance fine and gross motor skills! Simple songs combined with play can help boost brain and body coordination. All of these activities help build important connections in the brain during this essential time of development.
Close relationships have a significant impact on children’s development and music can support these intimate relationships. For example, singing lullabies to babies is a great way to bond. Studies have found that babies will listen calmly to a lullaby for twice as long as baby talk or adult speech! When caregivers sing lullabies, changing their pitch, tone and lyrics to soothe and relax the baby, they will also feel a sense of security and care.
Babbling and sound-play helps babies develop the neural pathways needed to listen and speak. Did you know infants who hear language directed to them tend to babble more and gain larger vocabularies by toddlerhood? Children can easily and quickly mimic music and sounds they hear as a way to understand and make sense of the world around them.
Music has the ability to foster community and belonging. In their homes, children feel connected to their families and communities as they hear accents, songs and stories. In the US, one in four children has at least one immigrant parent. Because of this, preschool tends to unify home and education together. During preschool, young children must learn about and experience the concepts of ‘belonging’ and ‘being an outsider’. When teachers incorporate the music and sounds of several cultures, the children can experience an inclusive and connected world early on.
Live music is exciting for us adults, but it’s even more exciting for little ones! Live music is known for creating happiness and excitement in those experiencing it. Music can even protect us from illness, according to Carnegie Hall. Cooking familiar foods, celebrating holidays, and performing beloved music and dances are ways for children to discover the possibilities of laughing and joking, and to experience positive emotions like delight, joy, and affection.
It’s obvious music has numerous positive impacts on not only our daily life, but also on early childhood development! From lullabies, sing-a-longs, nursey rhymes and more, music can help build an intimate connection with your child, enhance their small and large motor skills and impact their overall happiness. Just like language, music is a shared, expressive, inventive, portable way to be together. If put to work, it can be a powerful force in the lives of young children and families.