Can music make your kids smarter?
Music is everywhere. There’s no doubt that music has many benefits, for both the musicians and the listeners. But, recent studies have also shown that music can in fact enhance children’s learning abilities, making it seem as though music can make kids smarter.
Children that are given music lessons have demonstrated higher proficiency in language skills and enhanced abilities in academics. While much research has been done to show the benefits of music on children, and the results are positive, the music itself is not actually making kids smarter.
So how exactly does music help children learn? Why is it so beneficial for children to be exposed to music? If you’re asking yourself either f these questions, keep reading. I’ve got the answers and some more important info as to why music doesn’t make children smarter, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
How does music help children learn?
Children who learn better test better, and these are the results we see that can make us think that music makes children smarter. But, it’s the permanent learning experiences that we’re after to provide long term effects.
Kids of all ages should be exposed to music. It helps the mind and bodywork together, which enables different parts of the brain to form connections. Both listening to music and playing music has a positive effect on how children retain information and later use that information. Music helps children learn in these ways:
- Building creativity
- Boosting confidence
- Encourages discipline
- Stimulates brain power
- Enhances social development
With all of these channels being opened, it enables the minds of children to function at a higher level. When children’s minds are firing on all cylinders, as music allows them to do, then they’re able to perform and give their best.
Why is music important for children?
Of course, we all want our children to be smart. However, unless they’re able to function with a clear mind, it’s hard for children to show off those skills that make them “smart”. There’s much more to having a smart child than having good test skills. Here are a few examples of why music is important for reasons beyond academic development:
- Self-calming: Music has a relaxing effect on most of us. This is especially true for children. Self-regulation can be hard for some children, which can get in the way of academic achievement.
- Memorization: Although it’s important that children are always developing a deeper understanding of the material they’re learning, there is room for memorization on occasion. Songs are a great tool for helping children memorize information.
- Motor skills: Music can help children develop better fine motor skills, as well as enhanced coordination and large motor skills.
- Therapeutic for children with special needs: Many children learn differently than others. While there are often different strategies that work for helping children with special needs, music is a well-known method of therapy and intervention.
How to add more music
Clearly, music is something we need. It has so many benefits, and really there’s no such thing as too much music. Here are some ways that you can work a little more music into your daily routine:
- Make a playlist featuring singalongs for car rides. This will get everyone involved.
- Enroll your child in music lessons, whether it’s learning to play an instrument or even a dance class.
- Play music in the background at home, instead of keeping the TV on. A silent house is nice sometimes, but you can really set the tone for your home through music.
- Have your own family jam session. You don’t even need real instruments to have a family band, pots and pans will do the trick. Encourage children to get creative and make their own instruments out of anything, just don’t do it on a day when you feel a headache coming on.
Simply enrolling your child in piano lessons won’t make him or her smarter, or is it promised to raise their test scores. Music itself can’t make children smarter. However, music does provide kids with the tools they need to learn, which in turn makes them smarter.
Encouraging more music in the lives of our children is no doubt a way to add more cultural awareness, and encourage academic, physical, and emotional development. But of course, we can just expect the music to do all the work for us. While it’s a proven tool in child development, it can’t be the only tool.
Amy Anthony is a stay-at-home-mom, music-lover, and a home cleaning and organization authority. Amy enjoys teaching others how to clean and organize their home with minimal effort on her blog Oh So Spotless.