It soothes our souls, changes our heartbeat, triggers emotions, ignites memories and that’s just the beginning of the magic of music.
Music reduces stress, increases joy and has been proved to accelerate brain development in children exposed to it regularly.
Promoting music and musical activates can help children with their speech, memory, attention span, reading and communication skills and has a host of social and emotional benefits as well.
With a mother who was classically trained as an opera singer and a father who was at one time regarded one of the top 10 organists in the U.S.A, it is an understatement to say music has had a huge impact on my life.
My parents formed a duo that entertained thousands of people for decades. When not listening to them practice, I was treated to the strains of classical music which filled our home.
From the vibrant vibes of Vivaldi (my favourite) to the beautiful brilliance of Beethoven, music was a constant companion.
Many were shocked and dismayed when I chose not to pursue piano lessons. I was repeatedly told I would regret it later. I have never regretted it and am happy to sit back and listen, or jump up and dance to the beats.
THE MAGIC OF MUSIC FOR STRESS RELIEF
I was quick to offer music lessons to my sons, though. Two of them excelled at playing the guitar while one showed an early love and talent for piano and was classically trained.
They all managed to put their lessons to good use too. One son played bass guitar in a successful indie band for several years and the other two used their knowledge to produce their own music and work as DJs.
The thing that really impresses me though, is that music is their go-to place when life gets challenging. This was particularly useful when they were teenagers. Even now, when feeling stressed or sad, they will pick up an instrument or put on some music to help regain their equilibrium.
I use music this way too. I’ve been known to listen to a sad tune repeatedly while processing some issue. When the process is finished I play a happy tune and my mood is instantly lifted.
The magic of music goes beyond changing our moods though, it can actually alter our perception, according to research from the University of Groningen.
THE MAGIC OF MUSIC TO UNITE PEOPLE
As if that isn’t enough, the magic of music has enormous social benefits too.
Music has the power to unite people – consider the influence of Woodstock and its message of peace in the 60s. Or the Live Aid concerts which raised 150 million to help famine victims in Ethiopia.
The piano player son, Brendan, who shared his process for how to run a marathon, was recently asked to write a toast about anything he chose for a public speaking challenge. It’s no surprise he chose music as his topic.
Music is the universal language. Unlike other languages, everyone can understand it, without ever having to learn it.
There are very few activities in life which utilise the entire brain. Not only does music do this, but, it also has the ability to alter your heartbeat.
Music enables us to speak to people without the use of words. A single melody can tell a story in a thousand different ways.
Music is a timestamp in all of our lives. How many of you are filled with nostalgia when you hear a song that was playing during a special moment in your life?
So how long has music been around? Well…. archaeologists have found primitive flutes made of bone and ivory dating back as far as 43,000 years. And prior to this, it is believed that music was created with the use of sticks, rocks and vocals.
Music continues to evolve and we now have technology that has taken it to a whole new level. With innovations like 3D sound, which is changing the way we hear music, to content streaming services which gives us access to a multitude of songs on the go, it is really exciting to think about what could be next.
MORE MAGIC OF MUSIC
Research has shown that babies listening to a song will remain calm twice as long as those listening to speech.
Another study has shown how music can help severely brain-injured people recall personal memories.
The magic of music even helps plants grow faster.
THE MAGIC OF MUSIC FOR BRAIN GROWTH
It’s not much of a leap then, to realise music can help children’s brains develop faster.
A significant difference in learning levels between children who had exposure to music and music instruction and those who did not was revealed in one five-year study. This was particularly evident in the areas of sound perception, language development and reading skills.
Music, like other forms of art, is a way to show emotion without the use of words. This makes it an excellent tool to enhance art therapy.
THE MAGIC OF MUSIC FOR THERAPY
One of my favourite art therapy exercises is to have the students do scribble drawing while listening to music.
I get them to close their eyes and scribble on a piece of paper, using the music to guide their strokes. I usually play a few different styles of music and have the students either change pencil colours or sheets of paper for each new genre.
Afterwards, we discuss the drawings and the students can see the different emotions the music evoked by the pressure they used while drawing, plus the direction, length and shape of the lines drawn.
Understanding triggers and how emotions affect us is the first step towards gaining some control over them.
The recommended age to start formal music training is six. However, you can promote a love and appreciation for music from birth, or even in the womb.
Not all children will be interested in formal musical training. They can still reap many of the benefits if they are continually exposed to a variety of music.
During our international crafts sessions at Wacky Workshops Arts and Craft for Kids, I usually play music from the country we are ‘visiting’. This is a great way to introduce children to music from other cultures.
I regularly hold ‘Musical Mayhem’ workshops to show the students how to make a variety of their own musical instruments. Find out how to make four musical instruments from stuff you have lying around at home.
Wishing you a musical and gleeful week, Tamuria.
CandessJune 15, 2017 at 9:21 am
I am so inspired by this. I’ll have my granddaughter this weekend and absolutely will play music and draw. For me personally, music has been extremely healing in my life. I have several friends who play folk, blues, Americana, etc. and it is so easy to relax when they play. When my friend Shanta came from Kolkata to visit last summer, it was great to introduce her to American music with my friends playing. She cooked a delicious Indian meal. I was in heaven!
tamuriaJune 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm
What a lovely vision you created with that meal and the music Candess, and what a lovely memory for you. Music is a great uniter.
Lori EnglishJune 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm
I loved the article music is so soothing and I agree it helps with keeping children and adults calmer . I enjoyed the way you wrote triggers and emotions this is exctatly how it’s done . Great article !
tamuriaJune 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm
Music really does have the ability to make us calmer, Lori. I love incorporating it in my art classes.
Reba LinkerJune 15, 2017 at 1:25 pm
Wow – so interesting to learn about your musical heritage – no wonder you are the creative and joyful person that you are! Thank you for sharing!
tamuriaJune 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm
Music has always been a huge influence in my life, Reba. Thank you for those kind words.
Susan Mary MaloneJune 15, 2017 at 10:37 pm
Music truly is the language of life, no? I’ve read a lot of this research, and am always amazed. But I didn’t know it helped children’s brains to develop faster! How cool is that!
Think I may need some musical stress release this morning.
Thank you, Tami!
tamuriaJune 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm
I had heard about how music can help kids with learning maths, because of the patterns, but it is exciting to know it can actually help their brains grow and help with language skills too, Susan. Hope you got that musical stress relief.
Beverley GoldenJune 16, 2017 at 7:23 am
Love this, Tami! As you might know, I come from a musical background and actually made my living as a singer during the 70’s. My ex and I had a travelling band and we recorded and had a few of our songs recorded by others too. I absolutely know that music is a great leveller and healer. I am so happy to see how you are incorporating music into your art therapy work, as combine, the two are a powerful duo. Music really is a universal language. We all understand it, especially because of the rhythmic component of it. I just finished a Mindfulness-Drumming workshop and it is fascinating how music added to mindfulness has such an almost immediate effect. My daughter is very musical and is a wonderful singer and percussionist and uses those talents to entertain others. I am longing to have music back as a part of my life and am making some strides to make sure to do that this year. Thanks for the inspiring article!
tamuriaJune 17, 2017 at 1:43 pm
I’m so happy you are working towards making music part of your life again, Beverley. It’s such a gift when you can give joy to people in this way.
Tandy ElisalaJune 18, 2017 at 7:22 am
Tamuria, music really is a universal language. I love how it heals, transforms and brings people together. Nothing does this quite like music. It’s truly magical. I used to want to be a singer. When I was pregnant with my kids, I put headphones on my belly and played music throughout my pregnancies. They are all music kids!
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm
Wonderful that you introduced your children to music while they were still in the womb, Tandy. I believe it is never too early for us to reap the benefits.
Alene A GeedJune 20, 2017 at 8:04 am
Besides just the pure enjoyment of music, I love that it offers so many healing options to each of us. It certainly is a go-to option when feeling stressed. I grew up around music as well. We learned to love classical music. tchaikovsky’s sleeping beauty was mesmerizing to me as a child.
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:21 pm
Music truly does have calming and healing power, Alene. Though I love all styles of music, I think those of us who grew up learning to appreciate classical music are particularly blessed.
MeghanJune 20, 2017 at 7:47 pm
Fascinating! Funny timing on this because just last Friday I listened to some old tunes and considered how sounds (and smells) evoke memories and emotion. Music can be therapeutic indeed, and I’ve used it myself for calming, soothing purposes as well as for energy and happiness. Loved hearing about your musical family!
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm
So true about music evoking memories and emotions, Meghan. It’s easy to be taken back to a particular time and place when you are listening to music that went with it.
Cathy SykoraJune 21, 2017 at 2:53 am
Love, love, love this. As a lover of music but not endowed with a beautiful voice, I love watching my granddaughter grow into her gifts and share. Thanks. I couldn’t agree more.
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm
Sadly, I didn’t inherit my mother’s beautiful voice, Cathy, but I think at least one of the Goddesses has, so I understand your joy.
Lorii AbelaJune 21, 2017 at 7:19 am
I believe in the impact of music. I know some pregnant mothers listen to classical music as it was supposed to help develop babies’ brains. Some scientific tests were done and proved that it does help.
Growing up, we were surrounded with music as my father’s business was renting out jukeboxes. Being an auditory person, I find comfort in music.
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm
Your father’s business would have offered many great music listening opportunities, Lorii.I too, find a lot of comfort in music.
KimberlyJune 21, 2017 at 10:46 am
I LOVE music! I grew up in a musical family – my grandmother accompanied opera singers at Lincoln Center in NY, and my whole family is musical. My cousin is an amazing songwriter and has written many of the pop songs you know, and my son recently playe dhis guitar and sang (!) beautifully at his school talent show… I LOVE music! Thanks for reminding me why 🙂
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm
Sounds like you have a wonderfully musical family Kimberly and, having watched my own sons perform many times, I can imagine how happy and proud you would have been watching your son in the talent show.
Kristen WilsonJune 21, 2017 at 11:41 am
OH girl you know you are talking my language… I am a music lover in that it is always on.. in the car, when I ride my motorcycle… while I get up and dressed in the am… when I work.. it’s my background.. and I love it. So much power and I think it can provide our kids with it too. Plus, it’s hella fun!
tamuriaJune 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm
Oh yes, so much fun, Kristen. I love to have it playing really loud when I’m doing housework, as it energises me.
Joyce HansenJune 23, 2017 at 11:04 am
Research has confirmed the power of sound in its musical form on the brain. While the rest of us already knew how much we were affected by the sounds we gravitated to. We are fortunate to have access to such rich musical history and still encounter innovative sounds by today’s musicians. So happy to hear how you continue to introduce music to children in such novel ways. Keep up the wonderful work.
tamuriaJune 28, 2017 at 11:28 am
Joyce, I totally agree about how fortunate we are to have access to so many different kinds of music. I love that, no matter how it evolves, there is always room for the older styles.
Katarina AnderssonJuly 13, 2017 at 1:41 am
Agree, music is important and also the best as stress relief etc. I used to play different instruments. During my PhD writing, which was very stressful…I had a couple of songs during different periods that I played non-stop…helping to focus on a certain topic…Others, those a bit more with a ‘square’ point of view on things…saw me and my friend doing the same as crazy….saying we should write in silence…as with music you cannot concentrate. But for me, it was the other way around…;-)
tamuriaJuly 15, 2017 at 11:14 am
I’m with you, Katarina. Some music really helps me to concentrate.
JuliyaSeptember 17, 2020 at 4:11 am
I love this amazing reading about kids music. Thank you for sharing your experience and this great article.
tamuriaSeptember 17, 2020 at 9:18 am
Hi Juliya, so glad you enjoyed the article.