There is a gift we can give our children everyday. Don’t worry, it doesn't cost a lot of money but you a get major bang for your buck because this present has GINORMOUS (that is a word now, right?) potential to enhance a child’s learning. It is the gift of music.
The impact of music on learning
Studies show that music can make a big difference in a child’s growth and development. It advances learning systems in reading, arts, math, logical and creative thinking, Participating in music helps improve attention span, auditory development and hand eye coordination. Whether chorus or band, music lessons help develop discipline and self-confidence. All of these skills are needed to succeed in school and beyond.
It was noted at the American Music Conference in 1988 that children and teens who participate in school orchestra or band are 52% more likely to go to college and graduate. Children who participate in music at school or outside of school scored on average 20 -40 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
One of the first researchers to discover the positive effects of music on kid’s brain development is physicist Gordon Shaw from the University of California. From his studies and others, experts confirm that music participation and training at an early age and even throughout childhood are among the best ways to develop higher cognitive abilities that increase learning outcomes in math and science.
Music is processed in the same area of the brain that controls logical, mathematical, and scientific thought processes. It stimulates growth there. Music is to your brain as exercising is to your body.
Playing to win
Many parents will immediately start searching for children's music lessons but before you do, consider your child. In order to reap the full cognitive benefits of music class or lessons, he or she must be actively engaged and participate…just like in sports. The myth that just listening to certain types of music improves intelligence, the so-called “Mozart effect”, is proven to be inaccurate. Brain research shows that you will not see the kinds of biological changes in people who are just listening to music, not playing an instrument; Just like you won’t become a good quarterback by watching football. As with training for sport, it is important to engage children with music and sound in order to reap the benefits.
When deciding how to engage your child with music, follow your intuitions and most importantly have fun. Use rhythmic instruments if you have access, if not, you can extend the learning by making your own instruments out of recyclables or things you have at home. You can play informally with your child to make music something they will enjoy and want to continue to learn. For school aged children and teens, tap into school programs and lessons to present an opportunity for your child to play an instrument.
Various websites continue to market and sell music supposedly designed to charge the brain. However, current research suggests that tasks involving memory and concentration, like taking an exam for example, is better in a silent environment. Yet when studying, background music deems better results versus background noise. So if your child or student is easily distracted by ambient noise, playing classical music may increase concentration. Although classical music is generally viewed to be the best study tunes, there is no research to support this. It has been proven that listening to music in a constant state, with a steady repetitive pulse, and low volume is better for concentration. Listening to music releases of dopamine; making it a pleasurable, rewarding, relaxing experience.
Purposefully including music into your child’s learning and development can have great rewards.