The Importance of Teaching Our Children Music

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Music is a topic that is discussed in parenting circles but is never given the same amount of enthusiasm or financial commitment as soccer, basketball, or any other type of sport. As an avid music lover, I always find this perplexing. Why, as parents, do we place so much emphasis on physical health but ignore creativity, such as art and music?

Music was always my first love. I come from a long line of singers and traditional Irish musicians, so music has been an everyday occurrence that has infiltrated every part of my life. Looking back now, I would have been a completely different person had I not been introduced to music. In Ireland, my home country, music is taught from the age of four, with the opportunity to learn an instrument from the age of six or seven through the public school system. Music has the same importance as sports and other extracurricular activities, which, I feel, opens up more opportunities for children, particularly those who cannot find a sports category that they fit into.

As parents, we intuitively use music to soothe our children when they are newborns; as they become toddlers, we use it to allow them to express themselves through dance, and throughout their lives, we use it to convey our love and joy. Music connects with the brain, especially in early development, in a way that no other creative subject can. 

We acknowledge the power music has over our emotions, but are we aware of the other benefits of listening and learning music? I have compiled a list of benefits based on years of research from all over the world. Here are my top reasons to teach a child music:

Accelerated Brain Development

In 2016, the University of Southern California found that musical experiences can accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading. As music is also math-based, learning an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores. They also discovered that learning a musical instrument can strengthen memory skills in both children and adults.

Enhances Fine and Gross Motor Skills

For younger children, expressing themselves through dance improves their balance and motor skills. For older children, learning to play an instrument will engage and improve their motor skills. Just think of a pianist or drummer having to move both hands in different directions and in different rhythms while reading music.

Social Skills

Just like sports, there are many opportunities for children to learn music in group settings such as choirs or bands. Another aspect of learning music is the cultural diversity children are exposed to when learning different genres of music. All of this creates a more socially confident and capable child.

Emotional Regulation

I always joke that music is my therapy, but actually, this is the complete truth! Music can help children express their feelings through listening, playing, or writing music. It allows them the freedom to get in touch with their emotions and become comfortable with various feelings. All of this aids in emotional maturity and emotional regulation.

Increase in Self-Confidence

Anything that improves your child’s capabilities will increase their confidence, but music uniquely does this. When you develop a new skill, your confidence will increase due to growth outside of your comfort zone. On top of this, performance is key to learning music. Even if you are not performing to a large audience, you will have to learn new pieces regularly and perform these with your teacher. This consistent performance is phenomenal for our children’s confidence and will allow them to see themselves in a different capacity.

Increases the Ability to Learn Foreign Languages

Research has shown that the same brain activity is activated when learning and speaking a foreign language, such as learning, reading, and playing music. So, learning a musical instrument strengthens the same cognitive muscles as learning a new language, making learning a new language a little bit easier. On top of this, music is written in many different languages, mostly Italian, meaning that when you are learning music, you also learn some new words in other languages. Learning songs in other languages also improves your ability to pronounce and remember words.

Music Builds Connection

Singing captures the attention of your newborn more effectively than speech. Singing to your baby regularly will help build a strong and safe bond. For older children, having a safe place to perform in front of their parents or family will strengthen bonds and establish a place where your children can authentically express themselves.

It Makes Them Happy

Music is a fabulous outlet for our children. Having spontaneous dance parties in the living room or kitchen is a great way to allow your child to find fun in music. Having easy-to-use musical instruments, such as a triangle or drum, in the home from an early age allows your child the chance to play along with the music on the radio and release some energy.

Music is so much more than playing an instrument or performing in a school concert. In a world with even more pressures and anxieties for our children, it’s a great outlet for expression and communication. In a competitive world, with many parents opting to spend finances on sports, perhaps looking at the world of music would be a more beneficial and effective way for your child to grow and develop. And maybe, just maybe, music is deeper and more therapeutic than we had originally thought, and perhaps investing in a music teacher is a better way to invest in your child!

 

 

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