- 9January 2017
When I was a child, I remember taking music lessons which I loved, but my parents stressing to me that although music was fun, I needed to concentrate on ‘real’ subjects like Maths and science if I wanted to make something of my life. Their biggest fear I think, was that I would end up a ‘Musician’, which to them was not a real career but for those not clever enough to have a real job.
If only they knew. Music makes kids clever.
Numerous studies have proven that musical training at a young age (under 7) actually increases brain volume and connectivity and can have a huge positive impact on the developing brain. Music is the only thing that actually ‘lights up’ (when using fMRI) the entire brain, giving it a complete workout. Timbre and melody are processed primarily in the right side of the brain whilst rhythm and pitch are primarily in the left. By using not only both left and right sides, but all four areas of the brain, connectivity between all four hemispheres are strengthened which optimizes brain function. Music stimulates motor, sensory, mood, concentration, speech, hearing, language, memory, sensations, body awareness, co-ordination of movement, even your breathing and heart-rate.
Studies have shown a substantial increase in memory recall whilst listening to music, as well as being able to help keep you energized whilst also being able to assist in self soothing to decrease anxiety. Upbeat music can also boost your immune system. Kids that not only listen to music, but who are taught music, have improved brain function and structure, with increased cognitive and learning abilities such as improvement in their ability in maths, spelling, reasoning abilities, language learning abilities and raising both their verbal and non-verbal IQ scores.
Music can also assist those with delayed speech or stuttering. Studies have shown that when using music as part of therapy, there was a significant improvement in the children’s understanding of sentences, memory and ability to being able to form words and sentences on their own.
As music has such a strong influence on the brain, it has been used extensively in assisting patients with brain injuries (such as stroke or trauma victims) as music has the unique ability to be able to go through alternative channels and connect different sections of the brain, or retrain the brain. It can assist them to regain speech, movement, memory, motivation, even help with pain management.
So why not give your child (or even baby) the best possible start to life and immerse them in music. It’ll not only stimulate their brains, but help calm them, motivate them, and have them dancing before they can walk!
by Sonja Olsen, hey dee ho music