23rd June 2022 All Posts Expert Advice

Music and Neuroscience: What the Music Reveals

Guest blog from Early Years music provider – Boogie Mites

Boogie Mites have put years of research into the effects of music on the brain of early years children and along the way have created a strong partnership with the world-renowned neuromusical educator and researcher, Dr Anita Collins.
This month, we spoke to Sue Newman, founder of Boogie Mites – an organisation that creates Music Programmes that give children the opportunity to boost learning, development and wellbeing through music. Here she shares how music can help to increase brain activity and boost child development.

How does music increase brain activity?

The first significant studies on adults found that music created brain activity all over the brain whereas most activities only produced flickers of activity in one or two areas. Neuroscientists wanted to study this further, and between 2000-2010 they conducted bigger studies that showed that musicians’ brains worked faster, more accurately and efficiently than non-musicians. 

After 2010 the findings have only become more robust. One study with randomised participant selection found that those taking part in regular music practice had significantly higher language skills and a better ability to plan, strategise, solve problems, manage emotion, behave empathetically and be kinder to their peers. So, it’s clear that music has incredible effects on the brains of adults but is this replicated in the early years children?

Research suggests that music enhances speech and language skills
Studies with children aged 3-4 years old show us that for the brain to process the component parts of language a huge number of messages need to fire around the brain and they use the same circuit of neural pathways that are developed through regular music practice in early years. The findings of a research study by Dr Nina Kraus at Northwestern University, Illinois have found biological evidence linking music, rhythmic abilities and language skills – specifically linking the ability to keep a beat to the neural encoding of speech sounds.

Musical activities are a powerful way to boost development
These findings provide evidence that supports music activities in the early years as a powerful tool for boosting development, including as an intervention for closing the attainment gap. It’s important to start children’s musical journey through life as early as possible meaning that they gain the full spectrum of benefits associated. Children in their early years do not need to read notation or play classical instruments to harness the benefits, they can develop melodic and rhythmic awareness through playing with pitch, tempo, dynamics, rhythm, following the beat with moving, singing, shaking, tapping and banging activities. We recommend incorporating these activities into your children’s daily routines to receive the most from them.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of music in the early years of development, join Boogie Mite’s upcoming online training workshop. Boogie Mites will be co-presenting a training workshop with Dr Anita Collins on the 27th of July. Find out more here.

About Boogie Mites
Boogie Mites Music Programmes provide the ultimate resource for giving children the opportunity to boost learning, development and wellbeing through music. Their Core Music programme online training packs include a full training course and neuroscience training videos presented by Dr Anita Collins, find out more.

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