The possibilities are endless when it comes to music. Whether it’s joy, amusement, sadness, or relaxation, music enables us to feel nearly every emotion we experience in our lives.
Music can provide many academic and learning benefits, such as improving memory, coordination, and alertness. Regardless of your student’s age, encouraging them to listen to music is a great way to promote brain development. Discover how music benefits both the brain and soul, as well as some of the best music for child development in this article.
Why Music Matters
Music and the brain are closely linked. Just like going to the gym exercises the body, listening to music exercises the brain. According to research, listening to music can decrease blood pressure and anxiety. It can also improve mental alertness, mood, and sleep quality. Music is more than a mental health booster — it truly improves the quality of life.
Introducing your student to music at a young age can benefit learning and development in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:
- Communication: Music gives children a way to communicate through sound and activity. It’s a healthy outlet for positive and creative self-expression.
- Rhythm: Rhythm teaches kids how to organize events into coherent patterns. In speech, rhythm helps them select and extrapolate syllables, words, and phrases. In music, rhythm is a key element that creates the perception of time. Strong rhythmic skills are essential for music, dance, and language skills.
- Memorization: Music activates the right and left brain simultaneously. This integration of both hemispheres can help maximize learning and improve memorization skills.
Music Styles and Benefits Across Different Age Groups
Music affects people in different ways, and age and development level can play a role. That’s why age groups tend to respond to music differently. Let’s explore how music can influence certain age groups and what types of music are generally the most beneficial for each.
Music for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Music and early childhood development often go hand in hand. Through a combination of music and movement, young children can build social and group participation skills, express their emotions, learn new words and concepts, and practice balance and coordination, among other things.
Generally, toddlers and preschoolers enjoy singing just because they can. Most aren’t self-conscious about their voices, but rather eager to let them roar. Young children tend to like songs that repeat melodies and words, use rhythms with a clear-cut beat, or ask them to follow a set of instructions. That’s why they enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about silly characters, animals, and toys.
Classical music is another great option for your toddler or preschooler. Try out the classics like Mozart, Beethoven, or Vivaldi. You can also spruce things up with some African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican, or other cultural tunes to expose them to different styles. Fast, upbeat songs are typically better for playtime, while slow and calming songs are more suitable for bedtime and naps.
Music for Elementary Students
Elementary school students typically start to express their likes and dislikes of different music types. While they can still appreciate classical music, they’ll likely express distaste for nursery rhymes and “little kid” songs. They may also start to show interest in music education, like singing lessons or learning a new instrument.
This stage of development can be a good time to introduce students to new music genres. Here are some examples:
- Rhythm and blues
- Pop and rock with age-appropriate lyrics
Music for Middle Schoolers
Middle schoolers experience a range of developmental milestones such as growing independence, puberty, and greater influence from peers. They’ll likely want to explore music on their own, finding new songs and genres that appeal to them.
Allow your child to discover their unique music taste within reason. As a parent, it’s important to set boundaries in all areas, including music. Remember to enforce age-appropriate tunes for your middle schooler. Try to keep them away from music with explicit or violent lyrics.
Hear From Our Students’ Parents and Staff
Now that we’ve explored some of the best ways for kids to listen to music, let’s hear from some teachers and parents regarding their thoughts on music and development. The answers to the questions below come from parents and staff members of Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA).
1. In What Ways Do You Think Music Helps Students Grow and Develop?
Respondents expressed a variety of music’s developmental benefits in their answers to this question. Here are some of their thoughts:
- “Music is a wonderful, safe outlet for students to express themselves and their emotions.”
- “Learning a musical instrument — including voice — increases cognitive skills and can help memory and concentration.”
- “It helps foster creativity, helps the body and mind work together, and can help students acquire and retain vocabulary.”
2. Do You Think Music Makes a Difference in the Classroom?
When asked whether they believe music makes a difference in the classroom, nine out of nine respondents answered “yes.”
3. What Are Some Informational Songs That Help Students Learn?
Below are some informational songs recommended by educators and parents:
- “Fifty Nifty United States, Days of the Week, Months of the Year, Seasons — even the Hokey Pokey helps young students learn the difference between left and right.”
- “For younger students, ABCs and other learning songs. Schoolhouse rock is an oldie but a goodie.”
- “I remember as a student learning the ‘Times Tunes’ to help us memorize multiplication problems.”
4. How Do Students Respond to Music?
Here were some responses when asked how students respond to music:
- “I used to be a mental health therapist. When talking to students about what they use for a coping skill, many of them said ‘listen to music.’ It was almost always on the list.”
- “Research indicates that music can calm hyper-aroused students, allowing them to attend better to the task at hand.”
- “Any time I use music in my career class, my students love it. It can be hard to find relevant examples for that content, but I’ve managed.”
5. How Do You Incorporate Music in the Classroom?
Lastly, here are some ways teachers incorporate music in the classroom:
- “As a music teacher, I use musical examples to set the scene for class topics, guide discussion, and create multi-modal participation opportunities.”
- “I personally start off my class with a song of the day. The students in my class are able to choose school-appropriate songs in a Padlet.”
- “I strive to introduce my students to new music and get them to explore different styles.”
Learn More About CCA
At CCA, we understand the importance of music in the classroom. Through our rich assortment of cyber school courses, your child can pursue music and a variety of other lifelong skills. To learn more about our programs and services, contact us today!