Early Childhood Music Education - Why It's Important

Did you know that day old infants will breathe differently depending on if they are listening to Mozart vs. Stravinsky? This is because as soon as we are capable of hearing music, we are already responding to and interacting with that music as a vehicle for emotional and cognitive development. Traditional methods of teaching music have often started children around 7 or 8 years old with instrumental & technical learning, but a lot of research is now available to show that early childhood music education and integration is so incredibly valuable for essential development.

In today's post, I'm sharing two different articles highlighting the benefits of early childhood music education. One is from the National Association for Music Education and the other is from Carnegie Hall. 

This first article from NAfME outlines their position on Early Childhood Music Education, and that every child deserves play-based and developmentally appropriate music education. I'm dropping my favorite quote from the article here:
"By offering intentionally responsive, play-based, developmentally appropriate music engagement opportunities, adults honor young children’s agency for music making." 
I love this quote because I really do see my students as musicians in their own right, whatever level they may be playing at. We each have a voice and distinct musical style for self expression. Music can encourage and enhance imagination, creativity and emotional understanding, even in the youngest of children. So when your child sits down to just noodle on the piano and sings along, maybe making up their own words or story, they're developing this skill. Making free play at the piano part of home practice time is a way you can honor your piano kid's agency for music making.

And this second article from Carnegie Hall really highlights the social benefits of Early Childhood Music Education, and how music can cultivate, and even model, social connection across cultures. And again, I'm including my favorite take away quote below.  https://www.carnegiehall.org/Blog/2016/01/Why-Making-Music-Matters-Music-and-Early-Childhood-Development
Through music, children can invent games, songs, and stories that help them harness their feelings. Researchers observing music and movement classes have documented that participation in arts activities correlates with positive emotion for preschoolers and facilitates their ability to regulate their emotions.
I have said many times on the blog that in my own life music has been an outlet and vehicle for processing and expressing emotions. Having a safe space to feel helps us be better regulated and in tune with what our minds and bodies are experiencing. In choosing a musical education for your child, you are also giving them an incredibly valuable tool for emotional regulation. 

These articles both feel very important to me, as they are both things that I incorporate in our preschool piano lessons. Using the Wunderkeys for Preschoolers curriculum, we are able to engage in age appropriate, play-based musical learning. And to build cognitive function through pattern recognition, tapping or clapping beats, singing and moving our bodies to music. And all of those simple exercises, stories and musical play are building connections across all regions of the brain that are necessary for human interaction and reasoning. And as we continue in our lifelong musical journey, these connections continue to be made and reinforced.