The Benefits of Music with Children and Family Relationships
by Marc Herstein, www.grandchildconnection.com
Music can advance our intelligence and shape our future, beginning within the womb and continuing throughout childhood. It can play a crucial role in developing mental, physical and emotional growth. The sense of wellbeing you feel in your prenatal state is affected by sounds outside the belly, triggering a state of calm when you hear the same sounds in the future. I remember when my dad used to sing me to sleep as a toddler--little did I know this music would help mold the person I am today. Music also can be used as a tool to strengthen family relationships and bridge generation gaps.
Music is the fountain of youth, the bridge to understanding, and the power to unite.
- Music stimulates the imagination of young children. As a child, when we hear a song that touches on a familiar and symbolic topic such as a favorite color, animal, or food, we begin to visualize and stretch our imagination. This leads to increased creative expression, both currently and later in life.
- Music builds coordination. Human beings have an inner rhythm. Our heart beats to a rhythm, we breathe in rhythm, and we even communicate rhythmically. It is a joy to watch children joyfully and rhythmically sway, tap, and shout as they resonate with music. Infants and children develop physical coordination in response to the sounds they hear.
- Music develops self-awareness. We learn very much about our purpose, sense of self, and place in the world through the music that is around us. Cultures create music with a unique sound and style that helps to form our identities from an early age.
- Music reduces stress. Typically, the emotions we feel from soothing music slows our hearts and eases tension in our bodies. A warm lullaby sung by grandma puts babies to sleep. And the endorphins our brain releases through music triggers emotions of happiness, excitement, bliss and calm.
- Music is healthy for you. One thing music does for sure is make you move. We dance, jump, shake, wave, nod, make faces and do funny things to music. It is a tool that can be used for exercise and physical fitness. The entire family can work up a sweat together right in the living room and complete the amount of daily physical exercise recommended by health experts, all through listening to music.
- Music advances social skills. As a child, when we learn the words to a song, we build confidence. From the moment the song begins, we know we can impress our parents, grandparents, and friends by singing along with the song. We become comfortable with moving to the music and learn how to interact with people through it. We discover dancing with partners, singing in groups, and even creating sounds with each other by tapping on surfaces and clapping our hands. This early interactive behavior often instills confidence with those who are shy. Music advances our social skills and our ability to communicate on higher levels.
- Music increases family bonds. From lullabies to birthday songs, music plays a valuable role in uniting our families. Through music, we can rearrange our favorite songs, adapting them to our children's liking, improvise made-up language and expressive movement, and communicate our love and admiration for one another. Through music, grandparents can cross generations of time, communicating intimately with their grandchild before s/he knows how to speak.
Music can strengthen the bond between distant family members. Children can deepen the love they have for far away grandparents by singing songs over the phone or by "video visiting" online. Music is the bridge between generations that allow us to communicate with our grandparents from birth.
Whether you practice the enjoyment of singing traditional family songs with your children, or practice the scientific approach of musical advancement and psychological development, the benefits of music for children at an early age are endless. Music brings family together. Music is the key to a complete human being.
About the Author:
Marc Herstein has over 20 years of song composition and music production experience. He currently works in a special education day school for emotionally disturbed children in the south Bronx NYC. He is also the music and song composer at www.grandchildconnection.com, a service that helps to strengthen the bond between children and their distant grandparents.
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