The Secret to Your Child’s Success
Music. I have ZERO clue about any of it. I do not sing well (according to my mother I cannot carry a tune, lol), play an instrument, (and have no desire to play) BUT I know how very important music is for development and education.
So welcome with me someone who knows so much more about music than I do. Thank you Kathryn, from Musik at Home, for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us today!
The Benefits of Music in Your Homeschool
As a homeschooling parent, you’ve already figured out how to get things done you didn’t know you could do. Choose a history curriculum? Check. Teach a tiny human to read? No problem. Wrangle a toddler while teaching subtraction? Expert level.
We do these things because we know they are beneficial to our children’s overall well-being and their future. We’re convinced that learning at home – with all its blessings and challenges – is best for our children and worth the work it takes to figure it all out.
What if you learned there is something your child already loves to do that also has incredible developmental benefits, like:
- listening skills
- math skills
- literacy levels
- motor function
- emotional well being
- executive function
Wouldn’t you love to figure that out and use it to the best of your advantage? It almost sounds like magic!
In some ways, it is.
Music is a key that unlocks all of these benefits, and best of all, your child is naturally musical and there won’t be tears when you have music time.
Kids absolutely love musical play – you can see the wonder and joy in their eyes the moment a song starts! We feel it too when a favorite song comes on the radio or when Alexa happens to pull up the right song for the moment. We belt out the words to a song that feels like an old friend and we automatically move to the beat of a familiar tune.
You know what happens when a song with a beat comes on! Kids, even babies and toddlers, can’t stop moving. They naturally sway, spin, tap, and boogie to music that moves their soul. And we know that toddlers love being handed a pot and a wooden spoon to make some music of their own. Music engages their very being from the inside out!
In my house, you might find us bouncing, dancing and singing songs from the Newsies or Mary Poppins, then moving straight into singing something like “hi-ho-the-merry-oh, it’s time to put the toys away, I want the world to know, every toy has its place . . . ” (because Moms, you know we’ve gotta use music to our advantage sometimes).
But here’s the thing . . . singing, dancing, and making music are actually good for our children, and not just for fun or as a sneaky way to get them to do what we want.
It’s good for them to mimic rhythm and tonal patterns. It’s good for them to repeat songs over and over. It’s good for them to memorize words and verses, entire songs, hand motions, and dances. That’s all cognitive development wrapped up in a fun package!
I’ve not only seen this in my own children (like the time a Harvard trained medical doctor with 3 young children asked me how I got my 2-year-old to speak in full, articulate sentences! The answer was simply daily musical play!), but solid research also shows the tremendous benefits of early childhood music education. Let’s look at a few of these benefits backed by science:
- Intellectual development – Music is the only activity or subject matter that actively engages both hemispheres of the brain at the same time. It actually strengthens the corpus callosum, which is the bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. Researchers have found that musicians have a larger than average corpus callosum which allows messages to travel across the hemispheres more quickly, resulting in more creative thinking.
In fact, those who study music before the age of 7 and continue through the teenage years will have an average IQ score of 7.5 points higher than those who don’t study music.
That’s some pretty amazing stuff! 7.5 points higher equates to higher earning potential in adulthood…. Every IQ point we have as adults, has been shown to equal about $700 more per year in earning potential. If every person as a child had the chance to gain 7.5 IQ points, we’re looking at earning potential of $5000 more per year in a career than they might not have had if they didn’t study music.
- Language development – Music education advances the early development of the auditory processing network in the brain. This is the network used to make meaning of sounds and learn spoken language.
Songs introduce new vocabulary words in rapid succession and, in turn, significantly boost a child’s working vocabulary. Through music, a child’s memory system becomes more well developed.
This is why my daughter’s vocabulary and articulation were impressive at age 2. We do an insane amount of musical play every day!
- Literacy development – Literacy levels have been shown to improve by between one and three grade levels with consistent music education beginning from birth with activities as simple as singing, musical games, listening to music, repeating rhythmic or tonal patterns, and learning an instrument at age 5-7.
Isn’t it incredible that music can have this kind of positive impact on your child’s brain, intelligence, and overall development! And truly, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what early childhood music education can do for children throughout their entire lives.
You can start simply, by:
- Having a bin of simple instruments like a tambourine, maracas, and a drum (you can even make each of these instruments at home) and shaking or tapping out a rhythm together.
- Playing Freeze Dance – they dance and move until the music stops, and then they freeze!
- Stopping a favorite song and having your child sing the next line
I’m confident you’d love to see the same benefits of music education in your child that I saw in my daughter. If you’re excited to see what music does for your child, head over to https://www.mymusikathome.com/pages/1-month-free-membership for 30 days of free classes for you and your child.
Engaging your child in musical play each day – making it a joyful part of your day – will begin to unlock these benefits for your child and set them on a path to lifelong success.
By Kathryn Brunner, Founder of Musik at Home, LLC
 Kraus, Nina & Bharath Chandrasekaran. (2010). Music training for the development of auditory skills. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11. 599-605.
 Collins, Anita. “Music & Literacy Education is Money Well Spent.” Retrieved July 24, 2017 from http://www.anitacollinsmusic.com/bigger-better-brains/naplan2016.