Children are ready for learning new skills at this time, and the earlier you work on musical skills, the more staying power they’ll have.
- Ask about music classes at daycare and other early childhood programs your toddler goes to.
- Use music in everyday activities and play to encourage creativity and language development, as well as problem-solving skills.
Some studies have found that musical activities can help children with spatial reasoning —those skills that make it possible for us to put a round peg in a round hole, for example, or to solve puzzles.
In some studies, classical music, such as symphonies by Beethoven or Bach, has been shown to have a greater positive effect on these spatial reasoning pathways. These works differ from other types of music.
Although there is some controversy on how much music helps other areas of cognition (spatial reasoning, receptive vocabulary for example) – there is less controversy on the positive effect of practicing music on musical ability!
There is also research that suggests that using music to teach can improve children’s attention. A 2009 study (Wolfe, 2009) found that kindergarteners seemed to be more attentive, focused, and engaged during a musical story, whether with or without distraction, compared to a spoken story, with or without distraction. Many children listening to the musical story seemed to enjoy the listening process; they remained focused on the visual aids throughout the distractions, while some engaged in moving, humming, and/or singing along with the song.