Music influences brain development

Watching your two year old wiggling their hips to the jingle on the television helps one realize how important and universal music is for a youngster’s mental and physical growth. Children’s first musical instrument is usually the mother’s pot and pans, as they bang away on the “heavy metal”, they are making their own kind of music. As a youth grows, it is important to take away that video game and introduce your child to a musical instrument, he or she will benefit in many ways throughout their lifetime.

What are the benefits of learning a musical instrument at an early age?

  • Playing a musical instrument can help with a child’s brain development, by effecting the automatic processing of the portion of the brain that controls all of the little one’s motor and sensory information in the upper segment of their body. Motor and sensory skills are improved by music and it has also been proven that cognitive skills are at higher levels as well. Studies show that learning to play a musical instrument can help improve reading comprehension, mathematics, and cognitive skills like verbal and perceptual abilities as well as spatial reasoning.
  • Playing a musical instrument helps your children become more creative, something watching television or playing a video game cannot do. As they learn their minds are stimulated, resulting in him or her trying different sounds and creating their own melodies.
  • Research has shown that children with disabilities, such as autism can benefit from learning how to play an instrument beside assist in stimulating their minds. Music is calming and helps to relieve stress and assist the child with coping skills, thus lower the blood pressure and the heart rate.
  • When a youngster learns a musical instrument, it doesn’t happen immediately. It takes practice, time and patience. Children love the praise and attention when they do well and encourages them to continue doing this activity even if it is difficult. He or she is then more willing to try other unexplored areas of learning. With this comes an excitement for education, and the longer and more intensely the child has studied his or her instrument, the better he or she scores on tests at school, such as math and reading.
  • A surprising benefit of learning an instrument is the fact it increases motor skills and coordination. Using their fine motor skills, by fingering the instrument and moving their arms, they are exercising their muscles. When a child reads the notes and uses their extremities, this improves their eye hand coordination.
  • Playing an instrument actually helps shy individuals to become more social. They learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that come from working together, and the development of leadership skills and discipline. As kids practice with their group, they can develop friendships which can enrich their lives and become lifelong friendships. Moreover, by encouraging improvisation and self-expression through music, this can allow kids to allow this inclination to cross over into other arenas of their lives. As explored in our post Making Music Together, a shared love of music can serve as a great bonding experience for the entire family.
  • Playing an instrument teaches children responsibility. If they play an instrument, this means they will need to maintain it, many instruments need cleaning or oiling so it can function properly. The child will be responsible for remembering to practice for events and the dates of these special music events.

After all is said and done, an instrument should be fun. If the child dislikes playing a particular one, perhaps another will appeal more to your child. Not all instruments are a good fit, and it takes time to discover which one matches your child’s personality which is easy for them to handle and is it correct for his age. If the child isn’t having fun then the instrument will remain untouched, so chose wisely with your child. Consider either initially renting the chosen instrument to allow your child a “test run.” If he or she is younger, purchasing a more affordable instrument like the recorders found at West Music so your youngster can learn musical theory and appreciation before moving onto a more challenging alternative. Additionally, take into account the temperament of the instructor and whether he or she creates a positive environment of patience, learning and encouragement for your budding star. Take Lessons is a great resource to finding music teachers in the Pittsburgh area, and each profile even includes reviews.

Enjoy watching your baby as they move their little bodies to the beat of the music, dance with them and, as they grow, continue to encourage your child’s developmental growth by introducing them to an instrument.