The Value Of Music in Child Development
The value of music in child development is now very popular and is having an impact on how schools teach. However, this still contrasts with the traditional view that intelligence is linked principally to language, maths and reasoning.
According to Gardner (1983), music intelligence is just as important as the other intelligences (including logical and social intelligence). There should not be focus on just one area of intelligence as it will hinder the development of the others.
Additionally, whilst all these intelligences are distinct, it has also been argued that development in one area helps in another. For example, musical play activities have been shown to help children develop both mathematical ability (gained through exposure to rhythm) and language learning (many languages have a melodic quality). Playing music is often a social activity and being part of a musical group and playing with friends will help social development.
So how can parents help their children develop their musical intelligence?
With the instruments to buy and the lessons to pay for, parents can often feel that music is expensive. But there are a variety of ways that children can enjoy music and find out if they have a talent for it before spending hundreds of pounds.
It is easy enough to create some basic musical instruments with sand in an empty bottle for a shaker and bottles filled with water for whistles, saucepan lids can be cymbals and a wooden spoon on an empty tin makes a great drum.
For a longer-lasting solution, parents can opt for specially designed musical toys that enable children to make music without the risk of breaking valuable instruments or household objects. For example, xylophones can help children practice different pitches and volumes, depending on how they strike the different bars. Sets like the Rhythmic Set and the Mini Orchestra Musical Instruments for under 2’s that will allow them to experiment with rhythms and techniques for producing different noises.
Putting music on in the background and encouraging the children to play along is a great way of introducing music-making and children will enjoy experiencing the different tempos of various songs.
As children progress, they will begin to learn the value of music and can start to compose their own tunes. Children’s keyboards or pianos are good for this, especially if they come with some easy to play tunes that the child already knows. Children normally take well to instruments which are unlikely to produce a ‘poor’ note (e.g. pianos and xylophones). When a child gets a little older, they can start experimenting with wind or string instruments, but the skill level required for these means that they do not make good ‘first’ instruments.
The main aim for musical play is that it is fun. Like all things, if children enjoy it, they will want to do it again and helping children develop a love of music early in life can help them in a variety of ways later on.
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer