Music is a form of creativity. And building creativity gives your kids fantastic problem-solving skills. It encourages self-expression and higher emotional intelligence. And it also boosts self-confidence and self-awareness. Creative kids are our future innovators, leaders, authors, and architects. And there are many other benefits of music for your child’s mental and physical health as well.
Fostering the creative side of your child’s brain is empowering to everyone involved. Many of us believe that creativity is something we’re either born with or not. But this belief is a myth. It’s a skill like any other, that can be built, learned, and cultivated. In fact, what you can learn from your child about music and creativity (if you are receptive to it) can be just as great as what they can learn from you.
Music is within us all.
We’re rhythmical, musical beings by nature. Our hearts beat in rhythm. We speak with melodic phrasing and use dynamics, pitch, and tone to convey meaning. We also walk and talk in different tempos, and we breathe in and out rhythmically, without even being consciously aware of it.
Whether or not you have spent years of your life studying music theory, you are capable of using music in your daily life, with enormous benefits. We’re not talking about Grammy-winning performances or groundbreaking compositions. However, we are talking about unleashing your creative kids’ imagination and engaging them in a new and refreshing way.
Music is a language that we all speak but which communicates emotions that words simply cannot.
When we engage with our children through music, we have the power to build our relationships, strengthen our connection, and open our minds to possibility. Oh, and it’s FUN. Remember fun?
The benefits of music on the body are proven by science.
Did you know that music affects every area of the brain? (Here’s a pretty cool short video about it from Wired.)
Music is also being used as therapy for stroke recovery, dementia, and even for babies in the NICU. New scientific discoveries are being made all the time, and therefore, the future for music is full of potential. But let’s stick to the present right now.
It’s undeniable that music affects mood, and it doesn’t take a scientific study to acknowledge that fact. Think about how you light up when you hear your favorite song come on. Or about how you instantly feel a sense of calm when you hear the calming music at a spa. And then there are those songs that were on the mixtape that your first boyfriend/girlfriend made for you. When you hear them you are instantly transported back to those days.
Here are 9 benefits of music for the body and mind:
• It can reduce blood pressure. (Sutoo D, Akiyama K, 2004).
• It can reduce anxiety and stress, aid in pain management, improve mood, and can also encourage socialization, self-expression, communication and motor development, according to studies done by the American Music Therapy Association.
• It can reduce heart rate. (Bradt J, Dileo C, Potvin V, 2013).
• It can improve depression, quality of life, functional recovery and neuromotor performances in neurological patients non-invasively and inexpensively. (Raglio A, Attardo L, Gontero G, Rollino S, Groppo E, Granieri E, 2015).
• It has positive effects on children’s brain development. Learning an instrument leads to long‐term enhancement of visual‐spatial, verbal, and mathematical performance in kids, according to this study. (Schlaug G, Norton A, Overy K, Winner E, 2006).
• There are studies being done that suggest favorable outcomes for kids with ADHD.
• Playing music has positive effects on neurological and developmental disorders as well as on normal aging. (Wan C Y, Schlaug G, 2010).
• NPR shared this article about how music is not only entertaining for kids, but reduces stress, boosts the helpfulness trait, and increases happiness.
If you want even more on the benefits of raising creative kids through music, here’s an incredibly thorough list of the benefits of music from NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants).
Kids need music!
There are countless reasons why your kids need music. And much of it is backed by science! The good news is that it’s fun and easy to incorporate more of it into your daily life. What are your favorite ways to use music with your kids? Share in the comments below!
Jolij J, Meurs M (2011) Music Alters Visual Perception. PLoS ONE 6(4): e18861. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018861
Sutoo D, Akiyama K (2004) Music Improves Dopaminergic Neurotransmission: Demonstration Based on the Effect of Music on Blood Pressure Regulation. Institute of Medical Science, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8575, Japan. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2004.05.018
Bradt J, Dileo C, Potvin N (2013) Music for stress and anxiety reduction in coronary heart disease patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Dec 28;(12):CD006577. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006577.pub3.
Raglio A, Attardo L, Gontero G, Rollino S, Groppo E, Granieri E. Effects of music and music therapy on mood in neurological patients. World J Psychiatry. 2015;5(1):68–78. doi:10.5498/wjp.v5.i1.68
Schlaug, G, Norton A, Overy K, Winner E (2006) Effects of music training on the child’s brain and cognitive development. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1360.015
Wan, C. Y., & Schlaug, G. (2010). Music Making as a Tool for Promoting Brain Plasticity across the Life Span. The Neuroscientist, 16(5), 566–577. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073858410377805
Steffen, P. R., Austin, T., DeBarros, A., & Brown, T. (2017). The Impact of Resonance Frequency Breathing on Measures of Heart Rate Variability, Blood Pressure, and Mood. Frontiers in public health, 5, 222. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2017.00222