When you think of intellectual development in children, what do you think of?
Do you imagine a super-genius with no social life? What about creative development? Many of us think of painting and drawing and other visual arts when we think of kids being “creative.”
But here’s something interesting: music can enhance intellectual and creative development, and it doesn’t necessarily mean your child will be a super-genius or the next Picasso. (Or maybe he or she will!)
Music and the Brain
Study after study has shown how music positively affects children’s developing brains. Music enhances intellectual development in various ways. Here are some of them.
- Math – Math and music are natural partners. Even on a very basic level, understanding and reading music requires some math skills. Rhythms are expressed in wholes and fractions (whole notes, quarter notes, half notes, etc.), and even the measures in written music are divided into equal sections. So it stands to reason that math and music enhance each other.
- Reading – Interestingly, reading skills can be enhanced by music study. A 2009 study took a look at this and concluded that music training (not just listening to music) gave children an edge over their non-musically trained peers. Kids who took music lessons showed better reading skills when compared to their non-musical counterparts.
- Overall academic performance – Adolescents can also benefit from the intellectual effects of music. Studies have shown that kids this age who participate in music lessons and attend concerts with their parents do better in school.
- Music and creativity – Let’s not forget the creative side! Music also affects children’s creative development.
- Creative thought patterns – At its core, creativity is basically a particular type of thought pattern. Music encourages this type of creative thinking. After all, the number of pitch, rhythm, and note combinations is practically infinite!
- Imagination – Listening to music evokes all sorts of wonderful, imaginative images. Children can conjure up all kinds of scenes and pictures in their minds based on music. And sometimes, these can come out as artwork.
- New worlds – Music spans the globe. Listening to music from different times and cultures gives children “fodder” for wider expanses of thought. It stimulates creative thinking by giving them something new to think about.
- The art of dance – Dancing is a very creative art, and as children learn to move to music, it can open up creative ways of self-expression.
Photo by Ikhlasul Amal