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Benefits of Music in Child Development

Children of all ages express themselves through music. Playing music for infants proves that, even at an early age, children sway, bounce, or move their hands in response to music they hear. Many preschoolers make up songs and, with no self-consciousness, sing to themselves as they play. Kids in elementary school learn to sing together as a group and possibly learn to play a musical instrument. Older children dance to the music of their favorite rock bands and use music to form friendships and share feelings.

  • Infants and Music. Infants recognize the melody of a song long before they understand the words. They often try to mimic sounds and start moving to the music as soon as they are physically able. Quiet, background music can be soothing for infants, especially at sleep time. Loud background music may overstimulate an infant by raising the noise level of the room. Sing simple, short songs to infants in a high, soft voice. Try making up one or two lines about bathing, dressing, or eating to sing to them while you do these activities. Find musical learning activities for infants.
  • Toddlers and Music. Toddlers love to dance and move to music. The key to toddler music is the repetition of songs which encourages the use of words and memorization. Silly songs make them laugh. Try singing a familiar song and inserting a silly word in the place of the correct word, like “Mary had a little spider” instead of lamb. Let them reproduce rhythms by clapping or tapping objects.
  • Preschoolers and Music. Preschoolers enjoy singing just to be singing. They aren’t self-conscious about their ability and most are eager to let their voices roar. They like kids’ songs that repeat words and melodies, rhythms with a definite beat, and words that ask them to do things. Preschool children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about familiar things like toys, animals, play activities, and people. They also like finger plays and nonsense rhymes with or without musical accompaniment. Learn more about music-filled preschool programs from Bright Horizons.
  • School-Age Children and Music. Most school-age children are intrigued by songs that involve counting, spelling, or remembering a sequence of events. Songs and musical activities with other school subjects also are effective during this child developmental stage. School-age children begin expressing their likes and dislikes of different types of music. They may express an interest in taking musical lessons.
  • Teenagers and Music. Teenagers may use musical experiences to form friendships, and to set themselves apart from parents and younger kids. They often want to hang out and listen to music after school with a group of friends. Remember those days of basement and garage bands? They often have a strong interest in taking music lessons or playing in a band, the lure of becoming a rock idol. School-agers and teenagers might need a reminder to keep the volume down, particularly with headsets. If we can hear music through an MP3 player headset when it’s not in our own ears, it’s probably too loud.

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