It’s an intuitive love, with more than a thousand research studies demonstrating how music can boost a child’s intelligence, emotional and social development and self-esteem.
This amazing power is highlighted in a new book, The Music Miracle by musician Liisa Henrikkson-Macauley, who stresses how music training — even less than an hour a week — can unlock a child’s full potential.
“Through my extensive collation of research, I discovered that the only activity proven to increase your child’s intelligence is music training — started between babyhood and seven,” says Henrikkson-Macauley, pointing out that 96% of brain growth occurs during this period.
“This is when the brain is at its sensitive development phase, and the neural connections are formed.
“I wanted to share this message so parents can find a way to help their children that’s not only fun, but makes a genuine difference.”
A mother of a six-year-old boy herself, Henriksson-Macauley studied 1,200 research papers into the effects of music training.
“Some of the most recent include the discovery that early music learning gives babies an advantage in mental age, communication and wellbeing, that it develops the full-scale creativity of preschoolers, and that it directly boosts their language abilities.”
Henriksson-Macauley, who is from Finland, is keen to point out, however, that this powerful effect, (thought to come from developing the connection between both halves of the brain), doesn’t come from children simply listening to music. There needs to be proper training to make children understand aspects of music like rhythm, melody and notation.
“Just listening to music and expecting to get an intelligence boost is like watching athletes on TV and expecting to get fitter,” she explains.
“You have to do some work to get it – but children love learning music, as long as it’s in a fun way.”
To help parents with this, Henrikkson-Macauley has produced Moosicology – a pack containing CDs, educational audio tracks, song book and a parent’s guide (available from www.moosicology.com).
However, parents can also try music training on their own; playing babies songs with different time signatures and bouncing babies to the beat of a song, both shown to improve their rhythm and social skills.
Henrikkson-Macauley says: “It’s so fundamental for young children to learn the basic music skills. Music is a universal language, and learning it gives so many brain benefits.”
¦ The Music Miracle is published by Earnest House