The universal truth across cultures is that music makes us feel good.
During listening to or playing music, our brains release happiness hormones, called endorphins, which lift our spirits.
Dopamine and serotonin, on the other hand, help us relax and stay focused.
Not only that. Music therapy can help reduce pain, inflammation, blood pressure, stress, and anxiety.
The same is true for babies. In fact, music is one of the primary ways of communication between parents and their infants.
What parent hasn’t tucked their baby into sleep with a lullaby?
Music is not only fun and soothing for babies. But most importantly, it lays the groundwork for effective communication and overall social-emotional, intellectual, and physical development.
So, without further ado. Here’s what you need to know why music is beneficial for your baby’s development and why you should expose your baby to it from early days.
Why Is Music Good For My Baby’s Development?
Music experiences affect the baby’s rapidly developing brain even during pregnancy. Research suggests that babies exposed to music have improved social, language, and reading skills, along with enhanced mathematics skills. It stimulates all senses, increases motor skills, and builds social and emotional intelligence. Music also helps babies understand and express their emotions, show empathy to others, and help create strong social connections.
What Are The Benefits Of Music For My Baby?
According to scientific evidence, the effect of early music experience on a baby’s brain is astonishing.
Exposure to any musical activity boosts the formation of new neural connections in their rapidly developing brains. Which has a positive influence on all areas of a baby’s development.
Dr Patricia Kuhl: Music and the Baby Brain
So, below is the list of the top 6 reasons you should expose your little bundle to listening and playing music.
1. Language Acquisition & Communication Skills Boost
Several studies on babies engaged in musical activities have found a strong correlation between music and language development.
So, how is that?
Music helps babies develop and practice pre-language skills such as sense of word order, vocabulary, pronunciation, actions, and vocal play.
And that’s because music has a repetitive and engaging rhythmic pattern – just like language and speech.
As it turns out, due to these similarities, babies’ brains can process music and speech sounds in a similar way.
When babies are exposed to music, they learn to recognize the patterns, whether it’s the rhythm, words, or actions, and predict and anticipate what will happen next. Which, by the way, also strengthens their memory skills.
Therefore, babies learn to translate music patterns (such as pitch, rhythm, and melody) into language and speech sounds through music exposure. Which ultimately helps them learn to speak quicker and sets a great foundation in early education.
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How songs and rhymes can support a baby’s physical development and language learning
2. Early Math Skills
Several studies also found that listening to and playing music also helps with the development of maths skills.
- They learn spatial-temporal reasoning. The awareness of the position of an object in space in relation to other objects or people and how this relation changes through time. In other words, babies learn about distance, shape, direction, and location through listening to music, which is also multi-dimensional. The sound can be loud or quiet, fast or slow, or it can move up or down. Temporal reasoning is a skill so handy in problem-solving.
- Music gives a fun and engaging opportunity to learn simple counting through many repetitions and movement activities associated with music.
- They practice pattern recognition and sequencing through clapping or playing an instrument to match the rhythm, tempo, and melody of the played tune.
3. Music Aid Multi-Sensory Development
Music activities naturally engage different senses – not just listening.
Babies will often move in the rhythm. They will clap their hands, sing along, and dance.
Therefore, music increases sensory development on so many levels.
The more music your baby is exposed to, not only nursery rhymes but also jazz, classic, pop, rock, and folk, as well as actively making the music using various musical instruments, the more enriching it is.
With all this sensory exposure, new neurological connections form in their brain and increase its growth rate.
4. Motor Skills
Music and movement go hand in hand very naturally. In fact, it is difficult to remain still when a good song is playing.
So, music encourages kids to move their bodies to the rhythm of the beat, which aids the development of their gross and fine motor skills.
They often jump up and down, clap their hands, and dance to the rhythm – which helps build coordination and balance and strengthen muscles.
In addition, instrument playing, such as using their hands to strike drums, triangles, or xylophone, or shaking a rattle will help with hand-eye coordination and improve fine motor skills.
5. Social And Emotional Development
The importance of social and emotional competency in children should not be underestimated.
That’s because socially and emotionally competent babies can manage and express their feelings better, develop a healthy coping mechanism and understand and respond effectively to the feelings of others.
And this ability is fundamental for maintaining mental health in later life.
There is a great deal of studies demonstrating that music plays a huge role in social and emotional development.
These studies concluded that music provides a foundation on which babies can get together and socialize. This, in turn, gives them the opportunity to communicate, use their imagination, play, and move to the rhythm of the music. The result is that the babies form a connection, bond with one another and develop a sense of belonging.
There is evidence that children who participate in music activities demonstrate greater cooperation, empathy and awareness of others.
Moreover, music provides an emotional outlet for babies too. For example, music helps them understand what certain feeling sounds like. Explore what is exciting and fun or what is scary and overwhelming, and what is right or wrong.
While lyrics of the song can help them understand complex emotions related to specific situations, helping them makes sense of the world.
6. Following the Routine
Childcare environments often use music in yet another clever way.
Besides listening to nursery rhymes, singing songs, and playing instruments, childcare providers use different types of music to help children follow their routines.
- Loud and energetic music encourages kids to get up and move and keeps kids interested and alert.
- Quiet and soft music helps them settle for a nap time
- Playful, interactive songs encourage early communication,
- The Clean-up song indicates a tidy-up time.
- Wash your hands’ song means mealtime, and they need to give their hands a good scrub.
Final Few Lines
The bottom line is – music can be beneficial not only for adults but for babies too.
Music stimulates the brain and aids learning in a wide range of areas of a baby’s development.
This includes cognitive skills such as language and speech, reading, and maths, as well as motor skills and social and emotional development.
So, it is worth engaging babies in all sorts of activities involving music and incorporating music into everyday life.
Whether it is signing up for music classes, singing lullabies and nursery rhymes, or playing musical instruments. Or simply using pots and pans with a wooden spoon to make sounds. The possibilities are endless.