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Best Music for Child Development of Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Best Music for Child Development of Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Music, dancing, and playing instruments have been an essential part of our culture for a long time. From the moment kids are born, their parents introduce them to music through lullabies, and this continues well into pre-school.

What most people didn’t know until now is that exposing children to music from a young age has a significant impact on their brain development. According to experts, children are born with billions of brain cells, also known as neurons. Over the first year of life, these neurons form connections, and the more you use those connections, the stronger they become. One of the ways to work out and strengthen these connections is music.

In other words, children who grow up listening and participating in musical activities develop stronger brain connections. This improves their spatial reasoning, memory, and intellectual capabilities. A study at the University of Southern California found that musical experiences in childhood accelerate brain development, particularly in language acquisition, reading, and mathematical skills.

Academic achievement however is not the only benefit of music in youngsters. Music activates all areas of child development, including their social-emotional and motor skills. For example, dancing and singing help children practice self-expression, socialize with others, and calm themselves down amid a crisis.

In addition to these developmental benefits, music simply brings joy and calmness to a person’s heart and mind. The only question is, is all kinds of music capable of this kind of power, or is there a specific type of music children should be taking part in?

But before that…

How does Music Affect Different Age Groups?

As you can imagine, children of different ages react to music differently. For example, infants bounce or sleep depending on what type of music is playing, while preschoolers prefer to dance and sing with their peers. Knowing how music affects each age group will help you understand the correct type of music or play for them.


Infant Music

Infants connect to the melody and beat of the music since they don’t know the words. At this age, the role of music is to help with brain and physical development. The best music for babies should be quiet and soothing like classical and lullabies, so you should avoid loud and upbeat music. The soothing and calming effect of this type of music help reduce stress and the extremely high heart rate of babies so they can sleep more and grow faster.


Toddler Music

From age one to three, kids love to dance and move to children’s music. The best music for kids under 4 years should be repetitive and easy to understand. This helps with language, memory, and motor skills. Toddlers want to take part in the music production, so let them clap, tap objects, dance, and even make up words.


Preschool Music

Pre-schoolers enjoy slow and rhythmic music that’s repetitive and has a definite beat. To them, music is more about socializing, making friends, and playing with their peers, so you will often find them singing in groups.

That said, music affects the intellectual/ cognitive and creative part of their brains more if they participate in the music. A Japanese study on 5-year-old children showed that kids who participated in musical activities exhibited greater creativity and technical skills, and they also showed higher verbal intelligence.

Elementary School Children

Like infants, the effect of music on 9 to 12-year-olds is very passive, and they don’t need to participate. One study showed that calming music like Mozart and other classical in the background improves their performance on arithmetic and memory tasks. On the other hand, aggressive and upbeat music does the opposite.

The effect of soothing classical music on performance and concentration was also seen in special needs kids. This has everything to do with how music affects the stress levels of a child’s brain and, as a result their performance.


Teen Listening to Music

For teenagers, music is a form of self-expression and socializing. They are drawn to music that expresses how they feel and often dedicate certain kinds of songs to each other. This is also another age where kids like to listen to or play music together as a group and even form bands. Since their brains are already too wired, they prefer loud and upbeat music over slow and soothing.

Importance of Music Participation

Two age groups benefit most by participating in music development instead of just passively listening to music: teenagers and preschoolers. These are two age groups where the brain is very malleable, and playing instruments, dancing, and composing songs helps develop the brain much quickly. The best time to learn a music instrument is when kids are below seven because their brains are still forming connections and absorbing more. In the same way, teenagers can learn to focus, calm their emotions down and improve memory.

The Best Type of Music for Child Development

Over the years, experts have stood by classical music like Mozart as the best type of music for brain development because of its complex composition. However, today’s studies show that different types of music for kids can help with mental, emotional, and physical development. For example, soothing music like jazz and classical helps to calm down, distress, improve memory and heal the mind, which is why it’s better for infants. Upbeat music like pop and rhythmic drumming releases endorphins and boosts energy in toddlers and teens.

The baseline is that everyone reacts to music differently, even as a young child. The important thing is to find what the child likes by observing their reaction and playing the correct type of music for their age. If you want to reap more benefits from music as a tool for brain development, encourage participation in the form of dancing and playing instruments.