Importance of Music in Early Childhood Development

Music, in any and every form, is one of the greatest blessings of life. Generations after generations, music gets passed on and that is enough to understand the role it plays in our lives. While adults have enough sense to appreciate the beauty of every note, it is the little ones who need an intervention from us to introduce this gift to them. That is because our knowledge of how music plays a very significant role in early child development is very limited and something that needs great attention.

While some children are fortunate enough to be born in a family having a music background where they are frequently surrounded by music and its formal training, every child has some exposure to music in all the rhymes they sing and various forms of play. And do we all know what is common in all these children? Whether their exposure to music is formal and conscious or informal and natural, every child enjoys the magic of music in their own way and most importantly, all of them constantly learn and grow with every note that hits their little ears.

While it may not sound that music can be one of the greatest and most comprehensive learning experiences for our children, there is so much to know about it’s huge potential during their early years!

Brain Development: Music enhances creative thinking, spatial intelligence, and also their mathematical skills. As it engages both the left and the right parts of the brain, music makes vital connections between them and creates pathways in the brain that improve a child’s cognitive functioning. The different tunes and keys train the brain to understand the different frequencies. This helps the little ones discover new ways to learn and grow!

Music Works in Childhood Development
Music in Early Childhood Development

Improves language, vocabulary and memory skills: All the various songs and rhymes of their childhood help the kids to not only expand their vocabulary but also understand the correct use of the new words and rules of the language. As this learning becomes repetitive and involuntary after some time, children develop a strong base for their language and vocabulary skills which helps them build strong communication skills for their adulthood. 

Auditory perception and sound patterns: Exposure to music and rhymes from a young age helps children build one of the most important skills for hearing and reading, auditory perception. Auditory perception is the brain’s ability to make sense of what it hears through the ears. Children must be able to hear various sounds, distinguish them from each other and manipulate them. They must also be able to join sounds and break them apart in order to be able to read and spell words. Teaching children classic songs and rhymes is one of the best ways to develop their auditory perceptual skills. It is fun and children learn auditory skills with little effort.

How Music Works in Childhood Development
Role of Music in Childhood Development

Self-Expression: Music is a wonderful mode of self-expression for children. Through music activities, children develop a sense of creativity. and feel free to express themselves without judgment. Creative expression is an important part of a child’s development. One of the very respected music teachers, Shyama Pannikar has rightly said, “Being able to sing a song is an achievement in itself and when there is an audience to appreciate and cheer for them, they bloom. It boosts their self-esteem and self-confidence like nothing else can. Classical music teaches them dedication and discipline, which carries forward to everything they do in life.”

Overall wellbeing and happiness: Music is simply a fun activity that makes you feel good. Children are naturally drawn to music. They are not self-conscious when singing and not held back by fear and judgment as adults maybe. They relax, sing and move freely. A few minutes spent singing or playing an instrument would be a surefire way to energize their minds for the rest of the day. In today’s stressful society, an activity that relaxes a child and promotes general well-being should be encouraged frequently.

Have you ever wondered how we remember so many of the rhymes and songs from our childhood till date? The repetitive nature of the tunes of songs and rhymes is what constantly works the memory skills of all children in that young age. What keeps the young distracted minds engaged is the simple tune and rhythm of the poems and hence it is a foolproof method of improving memory, a skill that stays with them all their time in school and beyond!

Role of Music in Early Childhood Development
Importance of Music in Childhood Development

When it comes to music, there is an age-old question that gets asked “What is the best way to inculcate the love for music at a young age, given that toddlers’ interests change faster than the seasons?”

Shyama Pannikar, who is a music teacher at her classes ‘Sur, Taal aur Masti’, an author of 2 renowned books inspired from music, and a mom to a 4 year old has a beautiful answer to the above question. She says, “The most effective way is exposure, beginning in the womb. Listening to Indian Classical Music during pregnancy has been highly recommended by experts for the welfare of both the mum and her growing li’l one. Make music a part of the baby’s routine, even after birth. Sing to them, play good music, give them simple instruments to explore sounds. Music sessions with experts can be started slowly, so they get the right kind of exposure and are moulded correctly.

I truly believe every child is musically inclined. Rhythm comes naturally to them, they listen to their mum’s heartbeat in the womb. Every child may not be a good singer, but with the right kind of exposure, the love for music can be inculcated.”

Therefore we strongly believe that in a country like ours, with such a rich heritage of music at our disposal, we should not hold back introducing our little ones to this beautiful gift of life. 

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