Much of what young children do as play – singing, drawing, dancing – are natural forms of art. These activities engage all the senses and help wire the brain for successful learning. -David A. Sousa, How the Brain Learns
My top reason for feeling passionate about the opportunity to teach music to young children is that the research supports what music does for development. What sustains my passion is the smiles on the children’s faces when we sing, move and play together.
Young children may not be ready for formal music lessons but they can creatively explore music. Group music classes designed for young children can be beneficial when they are developmentally appropriate.
When looking at differences in the brain, researchers found stronger neural connections, more grey matter, better information processing, higher IQ, better memory and attention, and better motor coordination in the brains of musically trained individuals. Other benefits of music education include improvements in speech and reading ability, a greater connection with parts of the brain that control creativity, and one study even showed group music making helped to create greater empathy in toddlers. You can read a current overview of neuroscience research on the benefits of music education here.
So for those of you who have young children in your life… sing, dance, listen, play and share the gift of music. If you are not musical you can still put on some tunes and dance around. You can even take your child to a concert or musical production that is age appropriate. Children need opportunities to explore sounds they can make with instruments and with their own voices. Look for the possibilities and help the little people in your life explore music and possibly discover something that may become a lifelong passion.