“Music is a kind of counting performed by the mind without knowing that it is counting.”
—G. W. Leibniz, The Monadology (1714)
Music is a powerful force. Depending upon its qualities, it can move people to mosh pits or melted hearts. But it doesn’t just hold emotional power — music and the theory surrounding it have a number of edifying properties. Exposure to playing music can yield substantial developmental benefits for young minds. Here are just 3 reasons children should learn music early and often!
Practicing Music Improves Fine Motor Functions
Music helps body meet mind. Playing an instrument develops dexterity, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. The combination of memorizing the sound of notes and physically manipulating those sounds into existence stimulates neural development that simply isn’t achievable with other activities.
Music promotes more than just finger fitness. It also help children develop spatial-temporal skills, which govern the ability to visualize and maintain various elements in their minds. Spatial-temporal skills are crucial for multi-step math problems—they come into play in engineering, architecture, computer science, and art.
Musical Education Influences Language Development
Language and music might seem disparate, but they’re actually cut from the same cloth: both are forms of interpreted sound. A developing brain is primed to decode sounds and the meaning behind them, primarily for the development of language. Music education spurs this natural learning process to new heights. This isn’t just conjecture — there are numerous studies that correlate growth in the left hemisphere of the brain (the part that’s involved with processing language) with early music education. One study likens music education to physical exercise: as exercise tones the body, music “tones the brain for auditory fitness.”
Learning Music Boosts Emotional Control
Music and emotion are interconnected, so it makes sense that musical development and emotional maturity go hand in hand. A 2014 study, later expounded upon in an insightful article from The Washington Post, asserts that “playing a musical instrument [is] associated with more rapid cortical thickness maturation within areas implicated in motor planning and coordination, visuospatial ability, and emotion and impulse regulation.” In layman’s terms: studying music accelerates growth in parts of the brain associated with emotional maturity.
Learning music is a boon for any developing mind. How do you incorporate music into the lives of your students/children? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!