5 Ways Music Benefits Early Childhood EducationMay 31, 2013 at 10:12 am | Posted in music education | 1 Comment
As a child, I was lucky to be surrounded and influenced by a variety of musical genres from many different eras. The songs I sang, the instruments I played, and the ballet music I danced to, influenced my life in so many positive ways.
I thought about this after an experience with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and it led me to create The Magic of Think®. I wanted to help children develop and strengthen social, emotional, and artistic skills through feel-good music. After all, filling our heads with positive music is like feeding our brains with healthy vitamins, right?
In my experience, music can benefit Early Childhood Education in the following ways:
- Healing Through Music – Children can experience different emotional states from optimism to relaxation through a variety of genres. Rock producer, Daniel Levitin, now an associate professor at McGill University and one of the world’s leading experts in cognitive music perception, states that “Music activates the same parts of the brain and causes the same neurochemical cocktail as a lot of other pleasurable activities like orgasms or eating chocolate. I think the promise of music as medicine is that it’s natural and it’s cheap and it doesn’t have the unwanted side effects that many pharmaceutical products do.”
- Identifying and Understanding Emotions – Studies have shown that being skilled in music increases the sensitivity to pitch, thereby enhancing pitch detection in both music and speech. Sylvain Moreno states, “Six-year-old children followed one year of keyboard, vocal, drama or no-lessons. Results showed that the keyboard group performed equivalently to the drama group and better than the no-lessons group at identifying anger or fear.” Thompson et al. (2004)
- Encouraging Positive Attitudes – Positive lyrics contribute to the reduction of fear and anxiety by helping children decrease the habit of negative thinking. Positive music also helps children become more excited and motivated about learning.
- Reducing Stress With Laughter – Combining music with humorous lyrics can help children reduce stress. A child having a hard time dissolving negative emotions will find that laughter provides a release as well as a workout! One of the most prominent laughter researchers, Dr. William Fry, of Stanford University, reported that 100 laughs a day are equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike.
- Promoting Communication – In addition to the above four points, The Magic of Think®, uses animated characters to encourage communication. With the characters singing a variety of songs that detail their problems as well as their solutions, children open up and talk about their own thoughts and emotions without feeling targeted. The characters can help a child stay at a safe emotional distance yet inspire communication and interaction.
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.” Ludwig van Beethoven
The Author, Janyse Jaud, is an award-winning singer/songwriter, voiceover actress, author, and thinkologist working with clients such as Hasbro, Warner Bros., Marvel, Discovery, and The Cartoon Network. http://www.themagicofthink.com
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Sylvain Moreno (January 2006) Influence of musical training on pitch processing, Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/8646949_Decoding_speech_prosody_do_music_lessons_help
Wired Magazine (August 2006) Music Makes Your Brain Happy, Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2006/08/71631
International Child and Youth Care Network, Christine Puder (August 2003) The Healthful Effects of Laughter, Retrieved from http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0803-humour.html