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Music and Childhood Development

From pre-cradle to beyond!

As parents we all want to give our children the best start that we can in life. When baby is growing in the womb, mothers, fathers and family members sing and talk to baby and baby moves around when they hear familiar voices.

Music, the universal language. If science has proven that a baby, while in the womb can distinguish between their mother’s voice, native language and even begin to recognize patterns and rhythms, then a baby would surely begin to hear and understand music too. Mothers have been singing to their unborn babies for thousands of years. The soothing melodic tones of mothers’ voices not only provide comfort and safety, but there is a strong possibility that it stimulates baby’s mind and physical development.

So now that we know how good music is to listen to for your child’s development…How can learning to play an instrument strengthen your child’s brain?

Here are 7 reasons to implement music early into baby’s life and how it can possibly help them in their formative years to come.

Personal Connections

We all have a longing to belong and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Playing music evokes feelings of understanding. Hearing a song and listening to the lyrics can take us back or sing out for us what we are feeling in our hearts. We can relate. We empathize with the performer. We like to congregate and celebrate as people. What better way to do so than when the performer of the family brings out the guitar or the fiddle while Aunt June plays the spoons.

Stronger Memory and Reading Skills

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation to learning music early in life that can be linked to better reading as a child. That is to say they remember more and read more effectively. There can be up to a 40% difference in reading ability between children who have had early musical and literacy exposure compared to those that have not. Both music and reading ignite areas in the brain which fire off synapses and causes new neural pathways to be born. In essence they can literally grow their own brain through music and reading.

Increased Processing Abilities

Learning to play an instrument requires the use of many sensory organs. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hands to touch. When combining these skills a child learns to “multi-task” and strengthens those neuropathways to create stronger brain highways and better learning capacity. Having your neurons firing on all cylinders, so to speak, creates a huge electrical storm inside your head which is a very good thing, because the more cylinders firing the better the brain runs. It’s like charging your cell phone.

A Stronger Brain

Musical training has a long, strong lasting effect on how people receive and hear information. Your sensory perception can fade as we age but it has been shown that those children who learned a musical instrument at an early age could give it up for decades but still show better auditory function than those not trained in an instrument. It may cause one to think about the musical genius of Mozart and him going deaf at a young age but still able to write and play music.

Increased Blood Flow

Better blood flow, better oxygen, better brain. When playing a musical instrument a study conducted in Liverpool in 2014 showed that while playing an instrument there was increased levels of blood to the brain’s left hemisphere. Your brain may only be 2% of your body’s total weight but requires 15-20% of your blood supply. A litre of blood flows through 400 miles of blood vessels every minute! Since your brain is your largest organ in the body and is 70% water lets keep it well hydrated and start hitting those drums.

Mood Elevator

There is nothing like a toe tapper to lift our mood. Imagine if your music you wrote and performed was the mood lifter for others: how must it feel to bring joy to so many? Music elevates the mood and can cause much happiness. Just look at how a child smiles when their favourite song comes on! Playing an instrument can immediately cause the same reaction.

Trains the Brain

The brain relies on what is called the Executive Function to perform many critical tasks like processing and retaining information.
This function also controls behaviour such as making good choices, solving problems and remember instructions. Multitasking is an outcome of that function where the brain stores these learned sensory skills to use them all at once.

The brain is so so much more important than we even think at times. We may be born with certain genes that we can attribute to great brains and great ancestors, but the importance of proper brain development beginning before birth can take us a long way in life. So open those books, turn the radio up and get your children trained up in music to help give them the best possible start that is sure to pay off for the rest of their lives.

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