Your Child's Lifetime of Music
Music can have a powerful influence on a child's development from the very youngest age, and the lullabies you play or sing for your baby will mark their first steps on the road to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and expression. It's an important journey, one with incredible benefits.
In addition to stimulating creativity and adding social enjoyment, active music making has been shown to contribute to making kids brighter, in ways we're just beginning to understand. Later in life, music continues to provide hidden benefits. It even seems to help curb depression and loneliness in older people.
A lifetime of music begins in childhood, and your child will never be more ready to learn than in these early years. What parents should know: Kids are ready to begin making music even earlier than you may think. Before then, there are benefits to just listening. Hearing music stimulates the mind, improves the mood and brings people together.
A study at the University of California at Irvine demonstrated that young kids who participated in music instruction showed dramatic enhancements in abstract reasoning skills. In fact, researchers have found neural firing patterns that suggest that music may hold the key to higher brain function. Research at McGill University in Montreal, Canada showed that grade-school kids who took music lessons scored higher on tests of general and spatial cognitive development, the abilities that form the basis for performance in math and engineering. Kids who make music have been shown to get along better with classmates and have fewer discipline problems. More of them get into their preferred colleges, too.
Playing a musical instrument strengthens eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills, and kids who study an instrument learn a lot about discipline, dedication and the rewards of hard work. Just listening to music can fill a home with joy and add an extra dimension to kids' lives. People who make their own music enjoy these benefits many times over.
What parents can do: Make music a part of your home. Expose your children to different types of music. Go to musical events, listen to the radio, enjoy musical performances on television, play CDs — there are lots of ways to explore the world of music. Make music as a family.
Maybe you're an accomplished musician with a gift to pass on to your kids; or maybe you can pass a rainy day making your own instruments out of coffee cans, broomsticks or water glasses. It's fun either way. Encourage and support your children when they become interested in playing an instrument. If you are a musician in your own right, be a model for your children. If you're not, you can learn together!"