At Inside the Orchestra, we know that having young children hear, appreciate, and participate in classical music-making is extremely beneficial to their development and well-being. From before a child is old enough to attend a Tiny Tots program through adolescence, adulthood, and in the last years of our lives, music is a positive force that can aid learning and growth, help us make friends, and provide us with lifelong passions, hobbies, or even careers.
Studies indicate that fetuses can hear sounds and react by moving. There have been many accounts by parents of their infant recognizing music that had been played to them while they were still in the womb. “Prenatal stimulation through music heard regularly while in the womb might provide some babies with a sense of confidence and relaxation after they’re born. You and your baby also will quickly discover an excellent way to bond and share in the emotional and potential intellectual development benefits this method may bring,” says Jennifer Lacey author of Music in the Womb: Bonding with Baby Before Birth.
Being involved in music from an early age can have many positive effects on areas of children’s growth including aiding brain development, boosting self-esteem, developing emotional intelligence, and supporting other areas of learning like in math and language. The benefits for children and young people continue through their school years when they are involved in band, choir, orchestra, or dance. Students who perform in an ensemble learn important lessons in teamwork and discipline. It takes a lot of motivation and work to practice a part on your own and then fit into the sound of a larger group, as well as to work with your fellow musicians to create something beautiful. There have been numerous studies done that show participating in music helps students stay engaged in other subjects, as well as in school in general and helps lower dropout rates. Being involved in music also helps boost memory, brain development, and test scores in other subject areas. The Every Students Succeeds Act of 2015 defines the arts as part of a well-rounded education and necessary for every student’s development and success.
After adolescence and young adulthood, when it is easier to make friends due to shared classes and interests, adults can continue to connect with others and reap the benefits of music by joining a community ensemble and attending concerts with friends. Studies show that singing in a choir specifically has numerous psychological and physical benefits. Singing in a choir is found to help regulate heart rates. Researchers discovered that choir members saw their heart rates beat in unison in relation to the speed of their breathing. Heart rates were directly affected by the melody of the music, and the pulses of those tested rose and fell at the same time when they sang in a group. Singing in a choir also allows adults to make friends more easily and serves as a great bonding experience.
Throughout life, music therapy, the evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish therapeutic goals, can be used to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
As we age, music can aid in ailments ranging from pain management to helping those with memory loss and disease. Music has been proven to boost brain activity in individuals with Alzheimer’s because it evokes emotions that can help with memory recollection. Additionally, musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s, and utilizing music allows us to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.
Music is an amazing force that positively affects our lives – from the youngest of us to the oldest of us. Instill a love of music in your children early on by listening to and playing music together, as well as exposing them to different types of musical experiences, like those Inside the Orchestra provides!