06 Jan Music Enhances Kids’ Language and Social Skills
There are many ways that music can aid in the development of our youngsters, and one of the major benefits is enhanced language skills, reports PBS.org. Young musicians’ brains become hard-wired differently, findings show:
“When you look at children ages two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development, which is so important at that stage,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. While children come into the world ready to decode sounds and words, music education helps enhance those natural abilities. “Growing up in a musically rich environment is often advantageous for children’s language development,” she says. But Luehrisen adds that those inborn capacities need to be “reinforced, practiced, celebrated,” which can be done at home or in a more formal music education setting.
According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds,” the group claims.
This relationship between music and language development is also socially advantageous to young children. “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”
A study on music and the brain in regards to language skills was published on December 12, 2012, by authors J. Chobert, C. François, J.L. Velay, and M. Besson. Showed how “Musical training has been shown to positively influence linguistic abilities.” —
“…we conducted a longitudinal study over 2 school years with nonmusician children randomly assigned to music or to painting training…While no between-group differences were found before training, enhanced preattentive processing was found after 12 months of training in the music group only. These results demonstrate neuroplasticity in the child brain and suggest that active musical training (rather than innate predispositions for music) yielded the improvements in musically trained children. These results…support the importance of music-based training programs for children’s education and open new remediation strategies for children with language-based learning impairments.”
So not only is learning music fun, it promotes huge benefits to kids for language improvement, which affects all aspects of their lives!