It's impossible to go through life without being exposed to music — and that's a really good thing. In fact, it may even be necessary.
According to Mark Tramo, M.D., a Harvard University medical neurobiologist, "There's an undeniable biology of music. In our brains, millions of neurons form circuits, or networks, that are uniquely activated when we listen to music. These neurons are spread out in many regions of the brain, including the auditory centers in both the right and the left hemispheres. These circuits may also be involved in memory, attention, emotion, motor control, and language."
Not only does music impact the development of our brains, but it has an effect on who we are as people. It seems that even as infants, children react to different music. Music can relax, soothe and rejuvenate. It can also make us want to dance, sing along or help lift our mood.
"Music is certainly an academic subject, and it is crucial within the learning process to meet the whole educational needs of children. It's not science though, and it cannot be drilled like math. Music is fun, but music is also difficult to learn. It's important to balance music education at home by integrating music as an enjoyable part of daily life," said Prin Dumas, a parent and music education teacher.
Here are some ways to integrate music into your daily life at home with your children:
Use music during homework, study or reading time
Soft, instrumental music can help children focus and increase productivity on their homework or other quiet activities. It's important to keep the volume low, however, because it could become a distraction if it's too loud. For younger children, nursery rhyme songs, alphabet or other educational songs can help familiarize toddlers and pre-schoolers with basic learning.
Music can help introduce children to other cultures
There is a distinct difference in music from different countries. Music from Asia, Europe, Africa, Mexico or even between different regions or states varies in beats, styles and languages. Also, with a lot of traditional music, there are various costumes or styles of dress that can be explored. This can help children develop a love for diversity and enjoy the rich heritages across the world.
Worshipful music can increase spirituality
Regardless of your religion or beliefs, there is music that can convey special messages to your heart and soul. The melodies as well as the words can be meaningful and help strengthen your faith. Songs about prayer, faith, God, love, light and kindness can bring a feeling of spirituality and peace into your home. This type of music can also be healing for the soul.
Music can teach about or bring back memories
Children love to hear stories from when they were young or before they were born. Often, songs are directly linked to events, activities or special moments in our lives. Your children will love to hear about your wedding song, songs you danced to as a couple or songs you sang to them as lullabies. As they grow and hear familiar songs, it can bring back fond memories of their childhood and their parents.
Music can change the mood in your home
If everyone is hyper, bouncing off the walls or causing chaos, music can be used to calm the craziness. Use upbeat music to get everyone in a good mood or inspire a living room dance party. Music can also be fun for some spontaneous lip-syncs or karaoke — great for family bonding. Many parents use special music for bedtime to help children relax and fall asleep.
Conversely, music with bad messages or "dark" melodies can harm the feeling in your home and affect your child in negative ways. Be selective in the music you allow in your home. It really does make a difference.
Music is an important part of life and adds so much "flavor" to everyday events. As we teach our children the power of music and how they can use it to help themselves, their lives and minds will be enriched. Use various music styles to encourage learning, faith, relaxation and fun in your family.