Music is an integral part of our everyday lives. It acts as a supplement to events both important and mundane — from governmental ceremonies to formal banquets to birthday parties or long road trips. Given the weight the global society puts into music, it should come as no surprise that it plays a vital role in young children’s mental and emotional development.
Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner argued that musical intelligence is as equally important as logical intelligence — such as mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, linguistic intelligence, and bodily intelligence — kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence.
The ability to make music is also often equated to the abilities to walk and talk. After all, multiple studies concluded that heightened musical intelligence is capable of strengthening the connection between the body and the brain. This is because moving and dancing along to music can improve motor skills, whereas singing along to a song helps improve vocal clarity and annunciation.
Furthermore, many researchers believe that musical training is linked to higher attention spans and greater listening skills in young children. According to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), “Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.”
Additionally, NAfME associates musical intelligence with greater memorization skills, which will benefit them not only in learning sheet music or melodies, but in education later in life as well.
Evidently, the benefits of music education are plentiful and long-reaching. However, unless parents are actively involved in their children’s musical development, its impact will be much less impressive.
Although this may be a daunting task — especially to parents who are not musically inclined — it can easily be done by introducing play musical instruments to their child, by playing enriching music throughout the day, or even taking a parent-child music class. Music Together classes are often the best option, as they offer classes designed for children of all ages and capabilities. For more information, visit Music Together’s website.