Many studies have been done to show the important role music plays in brain development among young children. In this article, we will consider the rationale for the need and benefits of regular music lessons for preschoolers and schoolchildren.
Music and Painting
For nine months, scientists observed how music and painting lessons affect child development. The experiment involved 32 children aged 8-9 years, none of which had studied music before. Neurologists, psychologists, and educators on the subject of reading skills, speech motility, behavioral characteristics, and brain development tested the children. The authors faced with the following tasks: 1) can we talk about a genetic predisposition toward music, or is it the result of education; 2) whether musical training improves the cognitive abilities of the brain. In particular, reading and speech construction.
There were two groups of children and a respective research team with each. One group began to teach music while the other explained painting. After six months of repeated testing, the results exceeded expectations. It turned out that even after such a short period of time, young musicians overtook the painters in many ways. They showed the best results in reading and were able to overcome speech difficulties.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University (USA) were able to establish that musicians more often than other people have both hemispheres of their brain involved at the same time, and they are equally active. In general, the IQ of music lovers is higher and their brain processes information faster — the explanation of the same development of both hemispheres of the brain is made by the fact that musical instruments are often played with two hands, and therefore neural signals must be distributed evenly.
Role-playing games, onomatopoeia and playing on children’s instruments, are necessary activity for kids. In such games with other children and adults in musical classes, the child uses and develops many of his or her abilities, in particular:
- general physical development is improved, the pectoral muscle sling strengthened, and the posture formed;
- an ear for music, rhythm and musical memory develops;
- skills of verbal and nonverbal communication are formed;
- the child learns to make decisions, to achieve mutual understanding, to make compromises, s/he extends emotionally, s/he has a readiness and ability to act in a team;
- skills of small and large motility and acoustical, visual, tactile abilities are developed.
Musical and rhythmic activity in the classroom is also of particular importance due to the formation of an accelerated exchange of information between the left and right hemispheres. The processes of perception, recognition, thinking, and decision making are possible only through the interaction of two regions, each of which has its specialization:
Currently, children with attention problems are hardly unique. The reasons are very different – parents having drug or alcohol problems, infectious diseases, and complications during childbirth, as well as some disorders of the mother and baby. However, most often the lack of ability to focus has domestic causes. Children usually spend too much time watching TV: bright pictures, loud music, and quick changes of actions overload and deplete the nervous system of children. Children hardly focus on one task for a long time. At the same time, they have physical awkwardness, and interest in creative play disappears. Music can help with all of these issues, as discussed above.
Facts About the Benefits of Teaching Children Music
A study by employees of the London Institute of Education confirmed that studying music and playing on any instrument, even a simple noisemaker, increases the level of intelligence and improves the general well-being of a person. Music improves concentration, mood, and the immune system.
Scientists from the University of Northumbria (UK) found out that two-year-old children memorized new words and individual expressions much faster to the musical accompaniment, and came to the conclusion that regular music lessons for children once or twice a week helps improve vocabulary, develop simple arithmetic skills, and betters their ability to listen and assimilate information.
Learning speech is a long and challenging process. Israeli doctors at the University of Haifa and their Danish colleagues at Aalborg University conducted an experiment with young children with cochlear implants and have concluded that music helps speed up the speech development process in these children.
In the course of classes with them for the development of speech, using musical instruments and toys, children listened to various musical works and songs. As the experiment showed, the children after such classes began to spontaneously communicate with each other and thus better cognized their native language.
Americans found the medical rationale for these facts. Experts from Harvard Medical School found out that children who during 15 months spent at least 2.5 hours a week making music, the volume of the corpus callosum of the brain, the organ supposedly responsible for the exchange information between the right and left hemispheres, increased by an average of a quarter.
Mozart’s music helps premature babies gain weight faster and makes them stronger. The results of experiments conducted by Israeli physicians at the Tel Aviv Medical Center proved this through reports in the publication LiveScience. Twenty premature babies were divided into two groups: one group listened to the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for 30 minutes a day, while the second group did not listen to music at all. Mozart’s music was chosen for the experiment due to a test that was done in 1993 which showed that college students coped better with space-time tasks if they listened to the sonata of the Austrian composer for 10 minutes a day. This phenomenon is called the “Mozart effect.”
The experiment with the babies lasted two days. At the end of the experiment, it was discovered that the music had a positive effect on the babies; children from the first group became calmer and consumed less energy than participants of the second group. When a child spends little energy, s/he does not need many calories to grow; as a result, that child gains weight faster and increases its strength.
Doctors and psychologists confirm that the immune system of regularly singing children is better; they are healthier and more emotionally balanced than non-singing children are. It is essential for parents to develop the abilities of the child from early childhood. Begin with breathing exercises, games that any child can perform, and it is likely that your child’s brain development and health will improve through the use of music.