The Magic of Music: Language Development and Cognitive Skills in Kids

young girl listening to music

Recently, scientists confirm what teachers have suspected for years: music not only nourishes the soul, but it also shapes growing minds. It offers so much more than entertainment. By exposing your child to music early on – whether it’s listening to Mozart, learning to play an instrument, or joining in a sing-a-long – you can maximize language development, cognitive skills, and social interactions.

In fact, music has the ability to build neuropathways in the brain that can improve memory and boost learning. Each time music stimulates your child, neural bridges form or strengthen. There are growing indications that those children who study music, particularly at an early age, show neurological differences from those who don’t. Listening to a Mozart concerto actually transforms the brain’s organization and increases blood flow and brain activity. Neuroscientists surmise that when children exercise cortical neurons by being actively involved with music, they are potentially enhancing their intelligence, namely mathematics, spatial reasoning skills, and the ability to handle complex reasoning tasks.

Lullabies, melodies, sweet and silly songs are music to young children’s ears and stimulation to their growing brains. Early, continuous exposure to music sets the stage for optimal development by nurturing the cognitive, emotional, social, and physical child. Music aptitude flourishes in a musically enriched environment, so be sure to offer it frequently. Some research defines a window of opportunity for children ages birth through nine.

To help children thrive intellectually through music, opportunities to experience music must be readily available. From jazz and classical to Reggae and Rock ‘n Roll, music is vital to young children’s maturation and can engage them in joyful discovery. Because it stimulates children at all levels, music is indeed magical, and kids are enchanted by music at an early age.

Music is one of life’s joys that children can experience before birth on up. When children first make music by banging pots and pans or playing a toy piano, they experience it hands-on. You can encourage their efforts by providing the tools and experiences and offering plenty of support along the way.

Read Next | The Music Learner: Know Your Baby Better by Singing Together

Tips to Make Music A Part of Your Child’s Life

  • Fill your house with music, from CDs to radio, to musical DVDs
  • Expose your child to a wide variety of music (not just children’s songs)
  • As your child grows, encourage them to move to the music.
  • Introduce songs that your child can act out like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the Bus.”
  • Take your child to musical events to experience the creation and performance of music.
  • Encourage your child to make up silly songs.
  • Invite your child to end a song you begin

Exploring language, sound, and rhythm through music will enrich your child’s life. So sing, clap, and chant – it is a wonderful way to bond with your child while offering fundamental learning skills. A playful way to practice new words and sounds, music can be a key to unlocking your child’s creativity and learning.

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Dawn Marie Barhyte is a widely published author with over a hundred articles to her credit. A former early childhood educator and co-director who continues to touch the lives of families through her writing! She lives and works in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY with her beloved husband and rescue chihuahua dachshund.

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