Children naturally love music, and musical experiences help to create strong neural connections between the cells in their brains. And they make the strongest connections when they are actively involved in their musical experiences. That’s why combining music with movement is so important.
In fact, music and movement instruction has been shown to improve children’s cognitive development, memory, and learning skills. It also helps children develop their ability to express themselves.
And regular exposure to active involvement in music even helps your child do better in reading and math, focus better, have greater control over her body, increase self-esteem, and play better with others.
The Benefits of Music for Your Preschooler
When a child is introduced to music at a young age, they learn to develop concentration, memory, and listening skills. Think about it: music draws us in and keeps us focused. And as we hear melodies and rhythms, they become familiar to the ear. Your child will build a strong memory as melodies are repeated.
And just as reading introduces new vocabulary to your child, music with lyrics will expose your child to new words, phrasing, rhymes, and more.
Try This: Sing familiar songs with your child while incorporating simple dance moves that match the music. For example, if the song is about a bird waking up, you can flap your arms to indicate the bird and open your eyes wide to indicate waking up. Combining the actions or dance moves with the words will help your child recall the words.
Try This: Keep a steady beat with musical instruments while you listen to a song. All you need is bells or sticks. Even a pot lid and mixing spoon will do the job!
Try This: Sing! Sing throughout the day. Sing familiar songs as your child takes a bath, make up silly songs as you eat lunch together, and sing a song before bedtime.
Try This: Listen to music. It’s the simplest thing you can do, so make sure it’s happening. Play music while you drive to preschool and at home as you get ready for bed.
Try This: Attend musical concerts together. Many libraries, schools, museums, and cities offer free musical concerts throughout the year. Get on their mailing lists and keep your eyes open for opportunities. After a concert, ask your child what she liked and what she didn’t like, what instruments she noticed, how she felt during the music, and more.
The Benefits of Movement for Your Preschooler
Movement combined with music introduces math concepts, builds motor skills, stimulates brain development, and improves communication skills.
As your child hears beats and repeats them, she is easily identifying patterns. Pattern identification is an important math skill that will come up again and again.
Moving with music gives your child a sense of where his body is in space, what his body can do, and more. This helps him develop his motor skills and form a more solid connection between his body and brain.
Adding hand motions, facial gestures, dramatic body movements and more to music allows your child to express herself in a variety of ways. This builds on her communication skills.
Try This: Clap, tap, or stomp to a beat and have your child copy you. Turn it around, and ask your child to make up his own beat for you to copy.
Try This: Use scarves to teach your child to listen more closely to the music. Raise the scarves up when the pitches go up, and lower the scarves to the floor as the pitches go down. Encourage your child to come up with other body movements that match the music — perhaps stomping during loud music or hopping during bouncy music.
Try This: Copy each other. Put a few simple dance movements together (whatever comes to your mind) as you listen to your child’s favorite song. As you ask your child to watch and then copy, you’ll be providing a chance for your child to build his memory and motor skills. Let him do the same for you.
Come and see how we incorporate movement and music into our curriculum every single day at UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour.