A significant amount of research has been carried out to better understand how early years music activities positively impact the development of children’s brains. As a result, it is now well understood that music supports the general development and well-being of the very young.
What does the research say?
Research indicates that regular musical activity can help children develop their language and communication skills in their early years. It can help their personal and social development, their understanding of maths, help them make sense of the world, and develop their literacy skills.
Below we delve a little deeper into each area:
Language and communication
Playing, singing along to and listening to music can all help support children’s acquisition of language and communication as they learn new words and can pick up their meanings through song. This is particularly true when the material includes rhyming vocabulary but applies when this isn’t a factor too.
Scientists have also proven that music is the only teaching approach that activates the entire brain, so putting the alphabet to music, for example, will help children pick it up more quickly. You can see this in practice all the time. Catchy tunes lock into the children’s memories, so that in no time at all, you’ll see they can sing along without the supporting vocals.
Personal and social development
Music is an inclusive, uplifting activity that can be accessed by all children, no matter what their age or ability. It builds self-esteem, as well as being a great tool for encouraging self-expression and creativity.
Like maths in many ways, music is built on sequences and patterns. Children will develop mathematical thinking as they play, and respond to these sequences and patterns by counting, keeping the beat, moving and playing with different rhythms.
Making sense of the world
As well as providing a new source of words, music can also help children understand new concepts. Action songs, in particular, are great for introducing positional language, such as ‘high’, ‘low’, ‘up’ and ‘down’. Just think of the Grand Old Duke of York or Wind the Bobbin Up.
And there’s more…
In addition to the above, there is a good case for including music in children’s play purely for its own sake. Music helps children understand pitch, volume, rhythm, sequencing and the sounds of different instruments. It’s also intrinsically good for well-being too, as it can improve mood, act as a distraction tool, and support concentration.
How can Busy Things support music learning?
Busy Things is an online collection of interactive games, activities and learning tools for 3–11-year-olds, which includes many music activities for the under-fives and beyond. Games that specifically support music skills include:
• Monster scale, that allows children to create, record and play back their own tunes!
• Monster grid, in which children can create their own musical phrases and flip different sounds in and out.
• High and low, Music mixer and Topple the tower, that explore pitch, volume and rhythm respectively.
• What’s in the box, where children can match instruments to the sounds that they make.
• Follow the cloud, that tests children’s tune recognition skills.
• Alphabet song, that makes letter learning fun and memorable.
Want to see more?
Young children love Busy Things and music so we’d love you to try it out in your Early Years setting or home. Simply sign up for a 10-day free trial here, if you’re a nursery and take a look around, not forgetting to search for and play the music games listed above. If you’d like to join one of our free Zoom tutorials, we’d be happy to show you around. If you’re a home user, sign up here for a 7-day trial.
We hope you find this blog useful. Please do let us know what you think in the comments. Similarly, if you have any ideas for future blogs, we’d love to hear them.