Educator Dr Reeta Sonawat Shares 10 Reasons Why Musical Experience Is Beneficial For Children

To gain a deeper insight into how musical experience proves beneficial for a child, we got in touch with Dr Reeta Sonawat of Ampersand Group, who uses her decades of experience and expertise to steer strategies that improve children’s education delivery practices pan-India, especially in public schools and state-run ECE centres.

1. How do musical experiences in childhood accelerate brain development, especially in areas of language acquisition & reading skills?

Dr Howard Gardner, the famous educationist and a professor at Harvard University, asserts that certain parts of the brain play an important role in the perception and production of music. Music is therapeutic as it has a calming effect on the brain and helps in de-stressing and relaxation. Providing the right kind of musical experience to children in their childhood enhances their learning abilities. Some children naturally possess music-linguistic intelligence. For such children, it’s easier to learn a language through music. Once they comprehend the language, it enhances their reading skills as well.

2. Is it true that learning to play a musical instrument can help in Mathematical learning?

While music is all about creating an effect with sound patterns, Math readiness entails comprehending learning patterns. Research shows that popular pieces of music also follow Mathematical structures. These patterns appeal to our senses for Mathematical rhythm and patterns.

3. Can dance help children develop motor skills & other signs of self-expression?

Dance, too, has a therapeutic value that’s intrinsic to it. According to Dr Howard Gardner, those endowed with kinaesthetic intelligence, which involves physical coordination and dexterity using fine and gross motor skills, learn dancing postures easily. Dancing helps in building control and balance of the body.

4. Do infants recognise the melody of a song long before they understand its words?

There are many pieces of research to indicate that a baby develops his/her receptive language skills right from the mother’s womb. They begin to discern between voices, rhythms, and melodies even before they’re born. During the nine months spent in the mother’s womb, the baby gets accustomed to the melody of the mother’s voice and the rhythm of the heartbeat. Hence, even after birth, the voice of the mother and the melody of the lullaby she sings while holding the baby close to her heart has a calming effect on the baby.

5. What are some musical learning activities for infants & toddlers?

All activities that are a favourite with younger children should include music and movement in them. Music, which includes concept-based songs, should be made integral to all preschool activities. Early learning centres and preschools need to ensure that music-based activities are spread out all through the day, right from the time children start their day at the school, before their snack break, and at the end of the day before they leave for home.