“Music is such a powerful language! Like perhaps no other medium, music has the ability to elicit the breadth of emotion, to captivate us in an instant, to express those very things we can’t quite put into words” – Evan Fein, ear training teacher from New York.
Have you ever noticed the way an infant’s face lights up when they hear their favorite song on the radio? They begin to wiggle in their carseat because they cannot contain their excitement, they sporadically clap their hands and a grin appears from ear to ear. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? Why does one song make them happier than another? The answer lies somewhere in between a child’s highly sophisticated ear and their swift emotional responses.
A Child’s Highly Mature Ear
Researchers have found that infants and young children have the ability to experience music in its purest form. A young child’s ear is very mature, meaning they are extremely sensitive to harmonics and pitch discrepancies. In turn, children have innate preferences to certain music pieces, base frequencies, melodies, rhythm and pitch.
Even more impressively, young children have the ability to discriminate tempo and notes. They can recognize the same piece of music, even when it is being played at different tempos. In addition, they can tell when the melody has been changed and a wrong note is being played. If that wasn’t enough, before a child turns one-year-old, they are better than adults at detecting wrong notes and remaining in key. Very simply put – children are born with the language of music in them, they just need the proper tools to hone in and sharpen their dialect.
Music and the Child’s Social and Emotional Well-Being
Music has the ability to ignite all areas of a child’s development: intellectual, social, emotional, motor, language and overall literacy. Research has positively concluded that exposing your child to music during early development helps them recognize and learn the sounds and meanings of words, due to the fact that they must tap into their memory each time they listen to a familiar song or sound.
It should come as no surprise that music has also been proven to consolidate a child’s social and emotional well-being. Introducing children to music at a young age allows them to identify their feelings and develop the necessary tools to work through their sensitivities.
Learning Music as Language
For many, learning or playing a music piece solely by ear is a far-fetched and unattainable idea. You may even think “only musical prodigies would ever be able to do that.” Think again. Children have the ability to rely solely on their ears to learn and even memorize melodies and harmonies. They are not depending on their eyes to show them the next part of a song, they’re using sound – just like they did to learn their mother tongue.
It is essential for children in the early-development phase (2-8 years-old) to ignite their joy and passion for music so that they can apply it to other aspects of their lives. From learning new languages, to gaining social social skills, to simply listening to soothing sounds and rhythmic harmonies – music can only enrich the lives of children!