Music is a big part of library storytimes, and there are a lot of benefits of listening to and making music as children grow! Here are some of the skills your child can gain by participating in music.
Language and Listening Skills
Before a child can learn to speak, they need to be able to hear the sounds made in speech, and listening to music helps children distinguish between sounds. Singing slows down the sounds in language, helping children to hear them clearly. Listening to instrumental music helps children practice hearing differences in pitch and rhythm, which are also a part of how we speak.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Music provides many opportunities for children to develop control over their movement. Playing an instrument is one activity that benefits motor skills. For very young children, this might mean clapping, playing a shaker or using spoons to tap on pots and pans. As children get older, playing other instruments, like piano or violin, helps them to practice more precise movements. Dancing is also a great way to develop motor skills. Young children can start out by bouncing along to a song, eventually adding in new kinds of movement.
Music is great for expressing and managing emotions. Listening to someone sing (for example, a parent singing a lullaby) builds connection between parent and child and gives children a feeling of security. Once children are older, they can also access positive emotions through singing. As Anita Collins writes in The Music Advantage, “Making music through singing increases some brain chemicals such as dopamine,” which is related to feelings of reward and motivation, and “reduces cortisol, which is a stress hormone.” In addition, making music is a great way for children to get creative and express their emotions.
Participating in music as part of a group develops social skills. It helps develop cooperation by giving groups a structure for working and playing together. This might look like a group of toddlers ringing bells along to a song or filling in the animal sounds in “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” or it might be a group of older kids singing together in a choir or playing in a band.
Looking for a simple way to add some music to your day? Check out our Stories to Sing About booklist to find books you can sing along with.