A new study shows signs that exposing children to the rhythm of music may have tangible benefits.

I think all parents want to raise smart and well rounded kids. We are often looking for better ways to help our kids with learning language and cognitive skills. A recent study looked at the role that music plays in both language learning and cognitive skills. The research was done by the University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. The researcher noticed that babies who went through a series of music sessions had improved brain activity.  

“Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech,” said lead researcher Christina Zhao.

The study was done on 39 babies who were 9 months old along with their parents. They went through play sessions between 12 and 15 minutes for a month. The music-play group had children’s music playing while those parents and children were taught how to synchronize with the music. The other group was not given the music but had cars and blocks as a part of their play group. “In both the music and control groups, we gave babies experiences that were social, required their active involvement and included body movements - these are all characteristics that we know help people learn,” Zhao said. “The key difference was whether the babies were moving to learn a musical rhythm.” 
The researchers scanned the babies brains and noticed that the babies who were exposed to the music and rhythm had stronger responses in the region of the brain that is associated with cognitive skills, attention, and detection of patterns. Patterns help us all learn, and the change to patterns also forces us to focus and learn as a result of pattern perception. It seems as though music can help us enhance our children’s recognition of patterns thereby helping them with learning, and improving cognitive skills. 

This does not mean that you could just turn music on for them, and walk away necessarily, no. It is using music’s rhythms and patterns to help young babies learn. We, as parents, should be engaging with our children as we use music to support their brain development. Even as we get older, it is much easier to remember the lyrics to a song than it is to memorize a paragraph of a book. The rhythm of the song seems to stimulate our brains to help with memory. Enjoy music as a family, and make music a part of your child’s everyday world. 

Source: I4U News

Image Source: “thedanw” (Pixbay) (CC 0 Public Domain)