Music in its basic form – rhythm and melody – stimulates brain activity (the release of neurons) in a child’s left and right side of the brain. For example, when a child thinks or talks about the sounds they hear, they only use the left side of their brain. However, when a child engages in music making, irrespective of musical ability, they will use the right side of their brain.
Dr Jean Houston of the Foundation for Mind Research said children who do not have access to music basically do not develop both sides of their brain equally – which impacts on their learning and thinking skills. Another researcher in the field, Roehmann, said that music helps children develop skills such as reading, writing, maths and science. According to psychologist Frances Rauscher, music activities build new spatial reasoning, while improving a child’s perceptual and cognitive skills, as well as self-discipline, dexterity, coordination, self-esteem, thinking skills, creative ability and personal expression.
Music is a wonderful medium as it stimulates more than fundamental learning; it is a pleasurable way for children to express themselves. Music is basically creative energy captured in sound that allows children to cope with the environment. There are so many physical, emotional and external changes taking place in a toddler’s life. Music helps children to understand this environment and to express their feelings about their environment – especially when words are not available to do so.
Allow your child to bang around on pots and pans to explore sound. Provide good soothing music for your child to listen to. Have music playing in your home. Children love to move to the beat of music. Maracas are an excellent choice of instrument for a child to play and learn to keep to the rhythm of a song.
Sing, dance and be merry!