Can you go back to a time where music had a positive effect on you? How did it make you feel? Where did your mind go? How did you carry it with you everyday?
For me: In college the art of stepping was such a physical release for me — music and sound made with my body. It was a powerful form of self-expression and it cleared my mind of the unnecessary stresses. On top of that, the seemingly “quiet girl” got to show how powerful she actually was. The combination of sounds from myself and my team coming from our claps, stomps, rhythmic beats on our chests and legs and on the floor took me to a different space in time. Today, it continues to keep me centered.
For my son: Music makes learning fun and language so attainable. He just loves it – the sound of his voice humming the tunes and the beats that begin and end a song and so much more. From how we incorporate music at home to our sessions at TLB Music in Manhattan, Aaron has grasped music so deeply that it functions in his everyday life.
I realize how significant music is to the developing mind and body.
Music serves in advancing and enhancing the everyday developmental milestones of children.
1. It Builds The Brain Muscles
Music gives exercise to the parts of the brain that processes information. It enhances the way every day things are processed in the mind, which you will soon see in the other benefits below. According to children’s music specialist, Meredith LeVande, creator of MonkeyMonkeyMusic, “music simply stimulates the parts of the brain that are related to reading, math and emotional development.” There’s nothing wrong with that right?
2. It Builds Memory
If you had to choose some things from your childhood memory (I mean way back in your preschool days) you remember up to now, chances are, some of it relates to a song you learned or a concept you learned through a song. Somehow the sounds and rhythms make it easier to absorb and retain information.
I cannot tell you the countless things my son remembers a lot better because it is attached to a song.
3. It Builds Connections
Music helps children to make connections to people, ways of life, to things that they have learned and even a sense of self.
This is why I love the show, Daniel Tiger, so much. The repertoire of songs on the show connect everyday things to music. I have taken many songs from that show and incorporated them into daily routines like using the potty.
I also love songs like “The Popcorn Song” taught by TLB Music in Manhattan. This song helped my son make connections between sequence of events and the process of making popcorn. I have taken that song home with us and used in our process of actually making popcorn to deepen the understanding. This is just one of the many ways TLB has contributed to his experience in using music to build connections.
4. It Encourages Language & The Use of Words
Music elicits a verbal response from toddlers and all children alike. Think about songs like “Where is Thumbkin.” Call and response songs like this charges the brain to give a response to a question and practices the art of every human interaction.
At TLB Music, teachers use various songs to help children call to memory what they have learned and to elicit a response to questions around what they have learned. Its not just singing and dancing here.
Its just so much more fun to talk through and in the midst of song.
For children who are not as outgoing as others, you will hear him/her singing words to him/herself faster than you would see them proactively engaging in conversation. The beauty is that language is happening somewhere.
5. It Encourages Creativity
Expose your children to enough music and I guarantee you that they will begin to create their own rhythms and beats and if he/she is extra fancy, their own lyrics. I can count on one hand how many versions of the alphabet song Aaron has stamped in his brain. Sometimes he hits a high note and sometimes he hits the low note. Sometimes the song has a new melody.
Human beings were born to create and exposing your children to plenty of music is an awesome way to sharpen that ability.
6. It Builds Patience
I really believe music can help children to wait for things if used in the right way. During Aaron’s music sessions at TLB Music, children at some point have to listen to the instructor demonstrate a song on an instrument before having the opportunity to explore the instrument themselves. Not only that, but they have to wait as the teacher goes around the room giving each child (one at a time) private time with the instrument.
Can you imagine a toddler who is just itching to jump at an opportunity to grab the instrument actually waiting their turn? The routine practice of waiting at TLB helps to children to do the seemingly impossible–waiting for a turn.
Exposing your children to music on a regular basis doesn’t require you to be knowledgeable nor rhythmically tuned. It only requires you to be intentional (whether it is a music class or your personal circle time at home with youtube videos).
***This post also appears on Normel Talks***