Music and movement

Music Matters In Your Little One’s Development

As parents, we want what’s best for our children.  This means that we want them to be healthy and develop holistically.  We want to give them the best possible chance to thrive and music matters!

I don’t know about you, but I often feel bombarded with information.

It can be quite overwhelming at times!

If you’re feeling like that already, I certainly don’t want to add to that as you read this!  But, I do want to share something of my passion for one of the oldest activities known to humanity – MAKING MUSIC.

***Disclosure – This post is sponsored***

Music Matters

Since The Dawn Of Time

Music has been around since the dawn of time.  The oldest piece of evidence for this was discovered by archaeologists in a cave in southern Germany – a 42,000-year-old flute made from the wing of a vulture.

One doesn’t need to be a scientist or educator to know the enormous impact that music has on children.  From a little baby beginning to sway or babble along to music, to a toddler dancing and singing, to a preschooler playing a simple instrument … the list goes on!

Music is a phenomenal teaching tool … but what’s going on in a child’s brain when they’re engaged in music-based activities?

What Does Neuroscience Tell Us?

With significant progress in the field of Neuroscience over the past decade, there is now more and more data available to review.

Functional MRI scans allow neuroscientists to see what’s happening in the brain, when engaged in various activities.

What they’re learning, is that music is the one activity that lights up all areas of the brain simultaneously – effectively giving the brain the equivalent of a full body workout!

(For more reference material or research on this, look at the work of Dr Anita Collins www.anitacollinsmusic.com and the work of Dr Nina Kraus at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu, amongst many others).

The research is very exciting, because it confirms what parents and educators have witnessed all along – that intentional musical activities are powerful tools for learning and development.

Music Matters

There are many, many ways that music exercises the brain – these are my top 5:

  1. Memory

Music has a way of embedding information into our memory in a powerful way – not just the information, but often the circumstances as well.  For example, you may struggle to remember a poem, but as soon as it’s put to music, you can recall it really easily. Music acts like the brain’s search engine!  It connects the dots between experiences, information and emotions.

That’s why when you hear a familiar song, you won’t just remember the song itself, you’ll often remember other details too – where you were when you first heard the song, who you were with, and how you felt!

This makes music a powerful tool for learning!  It can be used to embed learning and experiences into a child’s brain in a positive and safe way, which the child can then recall at a later stage.

  1. Language And Listening

Music connects with the language centre of the brain. It’s also a powerful tool to increase vocabulary, strengthen auditory processing, extend speech and build tools for early literacy – skills needed for learning to read at a later stage.

  1. Emotions

Music has the ability to make us feel a certain way because it connects us with our emotions.  One poet said that “music is what feelings sound like”.

This means that music can be used, not only to help children identify and express their emotions but to give them the tools to help them to regulate their responses.

These are the building blocks of developing emotional intelligence.

  1. Movement

Music was made for movement. Intentional movement to music promotes fine and gross

motor skills, as well as hand-eye co-ordination. All of this stimulates oxygen flow to the brain, setting up the brain to concentrate and learn.

  1. Social Skills

All team-based activities promote social skills such as working together, sharing, etc. However, music is unique, because we can incorporate emotional awareness into the social aspects – especially sensitivity and consideration to those around us.

Just like a group of instruments playing together is full of unique and beautiful sounds, they need to work together with sensitivity and emotional awareness, for the greater good.

Toddler Music Class

Some Ideas To Include More Music In Your Child’s Life

Music-based learning matters!  Here are some ideas for including music in your child’s daily routine:

  1. Wake up your child in the morning by singing a little song / rhyme to them
  2. Play music when you’re travelling to listen to together
  3. Switch off screens and consider adding audio stories to your child’s “down- / rest-time”.  This stimulates imagination in a way that visual resources cannot.
  • Wriggle and Rhyme has a range of musical stories which you can access on your favourite streaming service (Apple music, Spotify, iTunes, etc.) or take a look at www.wriggleandrhyme.co.za/our-music
  1. Use music to help to set a mood in your home – e.g. at bedtime, play gentle, soothing music but at playtime, play upbeat, energetic music.
  2. Make singing together part of your daily time with your child.  Expose them to your favourite music too – it’s not just about them!
  3. Consider enrolling them for a music programme at their school, or encourage them to learn a musical instrument.  You don’t have to spend a fortune!  An instrument like a recorder is a cheap and easy way to get started!

Whatever your circumstances or resources, make sure that you put music on the map!  Because when it comes to your child’s development, MUSIC MATTERS!

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Kirsty Savides - Wriggle & Rhyme programme director
Kirsty Savides – Wriggle & Rhyme programme director

About The Author

Kirsty Savides is the Founder and Programme Director of Wriggle and Rhyme South Africa.  She is passionate about music, especially music education for young children.  Kirsty is married with 3 children (10, 14 and 17) and lives in Somerset West, Cape Town.

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25 comments

  1. Music is soooo important for development. The radio is always on in our home. And when I was pregnant we also played music, moving more into classical. And now since My son was born he listens to complications of Bach, Mozart etc he loves it. The radio still plays through out the day and we play him soft classical music which he falls asleep to every night. He enjoys music, he likes to dance. And we’ve seen how it helps his speech. So music is a definite yes for us. I would like to also expose him to as many instruments as possible.

    • When I was pregnant with my first baby my husband was listening to an Eric Clapton music concert on repeat but didn’t play it for a long time after that. When my daughter was about a year old he put it on again and my daughter looked up in surprise as it came on, I am sure she could recognize it from the womb! It was so funny!

  2. I love the ideas on how to incorporate music into daily routines. Great read.

  3. This is such a brilliant giveaway! My little boy has apraxia and suspected dyspraxia, and music is such a great tool for language, gross motor, and fine motor skills. This would be a great tool in our therapy toolkit!

  4. Great story and read!

  5. Oh, music definitely matters. It’s play a big role in our children’s development. Everything that can be learnt from music, how music can also change your entire mood. I love this post because it made me more aware of the other aspects of what music can do, to benefit kids and adults as well.

  6. Wriggle & Rhyme has been such an awesome program for my daughter. She loves music and I can truly say this program has planted great seeds in her life

  7. I totally agree with this post, my daughter is doing the same when it comes to learning. But I want to ask the interest in music at this age when can you tell if it is temporary or they really love it?

  8. Music is important, it’s part of our everyday lives. The daily routine ideas are great, plus it’s always fun with music and learning, so this goodie bag is a very nice giveaway.

  9. I love toys that double up and a learning tool

  10. Music is so therapeutic to the mind, body and soul especially with the little ones. Would love to win this for the kids.

  11. Music is so important and I just love educational toys. Would really like to win this for my baby girl.

  12. This is a great story, I have noticed that with my son from 7 months he’s been paying attention to rhythm,when a cellphone rings he listens to the song,when I play with him with his rattle I sing and coordinate with the sound of the rattle then he pays attention.

  13. I hope I win at least once in anything

  14. I absolutely agree with this.. Music is so essential. My babys milestones have been so amazing because of this .Listening to music contributes greatly to babies development of this skill and will develop the ability to decode auditory data and sharpen your child’s auditory memory – abilities which are fundamental to language comprehension. Music can also bring on strong emotions when babies try to express themselves ❤️💜💙💚

  15. Hoping to win this _ A gift for my baby girl that is 5 months now.
    Developing is very important, I would love to learn this to her.
    She loves sounds

  16. Sithembiso Ndlovu

    What a great read about music,will love to win this for my son to give him much more exposure,fingers crossed 😊😊

  17. My baby loves sounds she sleeps with music

  18. My kids absolutely love music and will turn anything into an instrument. This would make a great Christmas gift!🎄🎁

  19. This is really an awesome giveaway, but my kids loooooooves music more specially my son..when i struggle feeding him i just play him music then i wont have trouble feeding him.

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