A couple of years ago, at the university where I work, there was an open lecture on the topic of music therapy, in which I participated as a translator. I have always loved music, but I never thought about its effect on the brain and on the human body in general.
That lecture opened my eyes to many things. Two hours passed completely imperceptibly, I wanted to learn more, hear more, touch new knowledge.
It is very easy to be in a company with music: you do not need to cram something, learn, repeat something. I just turned on my favorite melody and from the very first seconds you feel the influence of music on yourself.
And I wondered – how does music affect children? What positive effects have scientists found? Here’s what I found.
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1. The influence of music on brain development
Research shows that early music studies (before age seven) cause real physical changes in the structure and function of the brain.
One recent study found that early music learning increases gray matter in the cerebral cortex, specifically in the sensorimotor region of the brain. This means that if a child regularly listens to music, then he is better able to move and coordinate his movements.
Improved coordination has also been found to help the child regulate his emotions and suppress reactions to events. This, of course, improves the child’s ability to deal with frustration and avoid overreacting to difficult situations.
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2. Impact of music on school performance
Children react to music from infancy, and this experience greatly contributes to language development.
In addition, music has a positive effect on the development of other cognitive functions, such as:
- attention and concentration;
- visual-spatial perception;
- ability to count;
Involving your child actively in music also improves physical development and health.
3. The influence of music on social and emotional development
When a child plays a musical instrument, his self-esteem increases, and also there is a feeling that he has achieved something by his own efforts.
In addition, playing the instrument increases the child’s self-confidence, persistence in overcoming frustrations when learning is difficult, and instills self-discipline.
4. The effect of music on well-being
You’ve probably noticed how music can change your mood. It is worth playing some funny melody and it seems that the day is not so gloomy, and colleagues are not so gloomy. And in general, I want to smile and dance! This is what children do when they hear their favorite music.
Even just listening to music activates areas of the brain associated with empathy, positive feelings, and pleasure.
Neurobiological studies have shown that listening to music releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the brain’s pleasure center.
5. The influence of music on your relationship with your child
Musical interaction between parents and children and adolescents improves the relationship between them, especially in the areas of empathy and social interaction.
You don’t have to be able to play a musical instrument. You can just make music together, such as dancing or singing.
After all, this requires synchronization, that is, you need to be able to listen to each other and adapt to each other so as not to disrupt the general rhythm of a song or dance. This synchronization with time transcends the musical experience into everyday life.
There are several ways that parents and children can interact musically.
Singing often begins when parents sing a lullaby to their baby. Singing for babies and toddlers not only enhances bonding with parents, but is also vital for language development.
You can sing along with older children. Find fun songs that you can learn to sing alone with your child or the whole family. Singing is great for road trips, campfire gatherings, and family evenings.
Dancing with children can start with picking the child up, holding him close to you, singing and dancing around the room. Look for songs your kids love, sing and dance with them.
When your child becomes a teenager, let him teach you new dances. It is a great replacement for screen time and also improves your fitness.
3. Listening to music
Listening to music together is also a lot of fun. Find your favorite tunes and enjoy. Try new music.
Encourage your children to listen to classical music at home. The internet is full of great videos that introduce children of all ages to classical music.
4. Joint visit to the concert
Going to a concert with the whole family is a great way to spend special time with children.
If there is a symphony orchestra in your area, many of them offer special programs for children to introduce them to the classics.
These entertainment programs are usually intended for children and parents who may attend concerts together.
You can also give your teen the opportunity to choose a concert that you can go to together.
5. Learning to play the instrument
When you learn to play a musical instrument together, your participation will motivate your child. It can become a common hobby / interest and you can play duets together.
The sooner parents start adding music to their child’s life, the better it will affect his mental and physical development.
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