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5 Ways Music Helps Your Child’s Brain Development

5 Ways Music Helps Your Child’s Brain Development

 

Music has a power that’s practically immeasurable. It transcends time and language, expresses and influences our emotions, educates and entertains, and so much more. Scientists are also beginning to understand the impact music has on our brains. Essentially, the effect is massive and it has a particularly strong influence on the brains of children.

 

Here are five ways that music improves your child’s brain development.

1. Enhanced Memory

Links between music and memory are nothing new. It’s been found that singing helps people learn a foreign language and that music can help bring back memories from those suffering with Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injuries; there are many more studies with similar findings.

 

Recently, scientists have been looking at the effects of music on the brains of infants and children. Studies have found that even a year or two of musical training, such as learning to play an instrument, can improve both memory and focus in children.

 

Playing music with other people might be particularly influential, according to Laurel Trainor, who directs the Institute for Music and the Mind at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Her research indicates that musical training seems to modify the brain’s auditory cortex. She suggests that playing music in concert with others requires a particularly high level of attention and memory, perhaps leading to greater effects.

 

2. Improved Literacy

The way that humans process sound is the same way that we process speech. Children who take music lessons can enhance their listening skills, which can then improve the way they process language.

 

Studies have found that when children learn to play an instrument, they can gain the ability to hear and process sounds that they wouldn’t hear without this training. This helps them develop “neurophysiological distinction” between certain sounds. Because the mechanisms for processing sound and speech are similar, this can lead to improve literacy as well.

 

3. Better Spatial Reasoning Skills

Research by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher and neuroscientist Gordon Shaw showed that preschoolers who took music lessons performed better on spatial and temporal reasoning tasks than preschoolers who took computer lessons instead. Similar research done by Brigham Young University indicates that engaging infants with music can have similar results.

 

Classical music has been found to be particularly beneficial for special reasoning, in children and adults alike. For example, after listening to classical music adults can do a spatial reasoning task, such as putting a puzzle together, more quickly. This kind of effect is thought to be possible because classical music is mathematical and has a more complex structure than other types of music. The pathways we use for classical music are the same pathways we use for spatial reasoning. However, simply listening to music—not playing it—only has temporary effects.

 

Learning to actually play an instrument, on the other hand, has longer-lasting effects. It’s been found that children who took piano lessons for six months improved their ability to complete puzzles and do other spatial tasks by as much as 30%. It is believed that musical instruction creates new pathways in the brain.

 

4. Increased Language Skills

Some scientists believe that musical training can also help children learn a second language. One study suggested that music instruction could help extend the period of time that the brain is developing and processing complex auditory input. Moreover, it’s known that music training enhances language-related networks in the brain and improves children’s ability to detect subtle differences between sounds, which can help facilitate accurate pronunciation.

 

Amazingly, this enhanced ability to learn another language isn’t restricted to childhood; studies have found that adults who had musical training when they were children are able to learn foreign languages quicker and more easily than those who didn’t have musical training in childhood.

 

5. Higher IQs

According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, music lessons appear to improve children’s IQ and academic performance. What’s more, the longer children study music, the larger the effect. This is not the first time this link has been found; it was also found that six year olds who had a year of voice or piano lessons had a larger increase in their IQ than another group who waited a year for music lessons.

 

The 2006 study found that for children, music lessons were positively correlated with higher school grades and higher scores on achievement tests. It also found that musical instruction was a predictor of higher IQs in young adulthood as well as higher high school grades.

 

Music has a power that’s practically immeasurable. It transcends time and language, expresses and influences our emotions, educates and entertains, and so much more. Scientists are also beginning to understand the impact music has on our brains. Essentially, the effect is massive and it has a particularly strong influence on the brains of children.

 

ONE COMMENT

  • Marko says:

    Music is powerful; we have all experienced a time when music has altered our mood and that in it-self is evidence of its effect on the human brain, but if listening to it has such an instant impact, then just imagine how much more influential is it to learn to play some instrument.

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