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Music and Education: How Music Affects Brain Development

Children and teacher playing with musical instruments in preschool

A Montessori education is all about fostering natural development while supporting the unique needs of each child during each separate developmental stage. The implementation of this process revolves around five simple principles: respect, the absorbent mind, sensitive periods, a prepared classroom and auto-education.

Music is an important part of the Montessori environment. It enables non-verbal communication and expression; it encourages children to enjoy music and feel joyful; enhances literacy, math skills, and brain development overall. Music can even boost their academic performance.

  • Music affects brain development

    It has been proven that within the first three years of life, music can be effectively used to stimulate the nerves that connect a child’s brain cells and play a crucial role in cognitive development.
  • Provides non-verbal communication skills

    Just like most adults, children have a lot of emotions but lack the proper skills to adequately and accurately express them. Through music, children can express emotion in a productive way, as opposed to yelling or crying.
  • Improves spatial skills

    Research has discovered a link between music education, math scores, and enhanced special reasoning skills. Like math, music involves patterns, ratios, and proportions. Specifically, playing music has long-term positive effects, more so than just listening to the beats.
  • Music brings enjoyment and makes children feel good

    Music instills joy in adults and children. This feeling of elation may be related to the release of dopamine. When we listen to the songs we love, dopamine gets released in the brain, this is the feel-good chemical. Children who learn about and play music at an early age adopt an appreciation that may last their entire lives.
  • Improves childhood literacy

    Learning music can improve a child’s ability to listen effectively. Human beings process both speech and sound the same way, therefore music education can improve how well language is processed in children. By enhancing this ability, literacy is made better.
  • Stronger academic achievement

    Numerous studies have shown the link between music education and academic achievement. One Northwestern University study lead my Dr. Nina Kraus uncovered that music lessons resulted in speech processing gains that lead to reading improvement. It was also found that playing an instrument was even more beneficial than participating in a music appreciation class.

Music helps children engage in learning and has a positive impact on reading, math, writing and self-esteem. The arts, in general, require advanced thinking beyond basic patterns and formulas, it is all about relationships and the ability to solve problems through creative thinking. This is, of course, important in the classroom and in life.