Start Small, Dream Big: The Astonishing Power of Music
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If hobbies were like eating fast food, then playing a musical instrument is slowly savouring a gourmet meal.
Playing music is a lifelong pursuit that fills people with endless joy, knowledge, and enrichment. Moreover, it’s a universally uniting force across the globe, bringing people together and allowing them to create beautifully fulfilling experiences.
Learning an instrument and immersing oneself in the tremendous power of music often turn out to teach lessons that help with all aspects of life. Due to the dedication, focus, and imagination needed to excel in this magical activity, the impact it has on personal growth should come as no surprise.
In fact, there are multitudes of scientific research suggesting that music does wonders for our mood and psychological state.
However, how can we explain the fixated fascination humans have with music? And, to what degree does it impact our development?
Everybody’s Fluent in Music
No matter where you’re from in this world, you already speak the language of music.
You don’t need to know a single note on an instrument to lose yourself in a perfect melody or harmony. This is the case for anybody – born in any country – in the world.
While communications such as words, images, and body language might vary in global interpretation, music is the opposite. It affects us all the same way, putting all earth’s citizens in touch with deeply emotional experiences, moods, and behaviours.
The Nuts and Bolts of Music’s Universal Connection
There’s no avoiding the sound waves, pitches, and rhythms that allow music to rouse our emotions and stimulate our brains.
We can shut our eyes and choose to look away from an image. But we can’t close our ears to the beautiful sounds of music, as it encompasses almost all aspects of our lives.
Therefore, by its powerful nature, music is something that everyone experiences in all its splendour. Yes, we all might possess our own unique tastes, but no matter the individual, there's a kind of music we’ll enjoy.
Then there’s the matter of playing music, and the sense of accomplishment we all feel when we learn or write a song. Furthermore, there are unbreakable social bonds we build when sharing these experiences with others.
Playing an instrument fills us with a deep sense of satisfaction, and in turn, speaks to our inherent need of pride and purpose. It bolsters our self-confidence and helps us better channel our emotions.
Children Are Musical the Moment They’re Born
Did you know that music is said to have a calming effect on infants when they hear a specific song repeatedly in the womb?
On top of that, babies begin learning while they’re still in their mother’s belly.
When a baby is finally born, they’re hypersensitive to all senses, including what they hear. Without any previous experiences to work from, infants are open to the formations of any language, making them citizens of the world.
It’s explained by researchers Alison Gopnik, Andrew Melzoff, and Patricia Kuhl, that – through imitation and repetition – babies learn in a genetically undetermined way.
Really, imitation is how we all learn.
With this principle in mind, babies can recreate rhythmic exercises, scenic representations, and sounds with simple instruments. Thus, creating their first musical experience.
When our little ones start early with music, it fine-tunes their ability to hear, see, feel, and move—enhancing their overall sensory perception.
Also, singing to our children is linked to early language skill development.
Adhering to all these methodologies as a parent and immersing your child in musicality before they're a half-year-old, will turn music into your baby's second tongue.
Music’s Connection with Intelligence
A steady stream of evidence connects musical training with enhanced perceptual and cognitive skills. This notion extends to executive functions and general intelligence, primarily throughout childhood.
Let’s further elaborate:
Consider the melody (right brain processing) and rhythm (left brain processing)* existing in all music. This means that both brain hemispheres simultaneously activate, providing a delicate balance between both functions.
Supporting this theory are studies citing that musicians contain more symmetrical and balanced brain function.
Something else worth noting is the intricacy of playing an instrument—its something that requires intellect, gross/fine motor skills, and being in touch with our emotions.
At Yamaha, we focus our educational processes on teaching children to experience music through all their senses.
Our objective is to make music joyful for our young students, encouraging them to sing, dance, play instruments, improvise, invent sound stories up to composition.
Making Friends Through Music
When we put our children into music classes, we give them a leg up socially – compared to those who don’t participate.
According to studies from Berkeley University, interactive music classes make children increase contact, coordination, and cooperation with others. Learning how to collaborate, teaches young ones to contribute to a greater good to create something beautiful.
The research from Berkeley also speaks to a chemical reaction caused by playing music. More specifically, the experience releases oxytocin – something that’s conducive to strengthening bonds and trust between people.
It's also stated in Berkeley's work that music heightens our empathy levels. Learning an instrument makes us more intuitive about how others are feeling.
All these factors turn musicians into inherently social beings, who forge lifelong friendships with fellow musicians.
Thinking of Starting Your Child in Music Lessons?
Music is undoubtedly a gift you can give your child that lasts a lifetime.
Unfortunately, if you don’t find the right teacher, there’s the potential that it has the opposite effect. An underwhelming first experience could turn your child off to something that should be an overwhelmingly positive influence.
Which brings us to the topic of our classes at Yamaha Music Schools. Our courses start for children who are 4 months old** – extending all the way to teenagers and adults.
Regardless of your age group, we've carefully crafted teaching materials and criteria to meet your needs and help you get the most out of your musical experience.
It's our philosophy that people who turn music into a significant part of their lives are happier and more fulfilled. For that reason, we centre our teachings around overall musical enjoyment and creativity.
*Especially in the adult brain, melody and rhythm processing have been found to show different hemispheric dominance, with the right hemisphere apparently more sensitive to melody and the left hemisphere to rhythm. Examinations of neural basis of melody and rhythm processing in young children (mean age 6 years 4 months, n=33) showed some differential specialization for melody and rhythm processing, but to a lesser extent than previously reported in adults. These results suggest that hemispheric specialization for musical processing may develop with age.
**Not in all EU countries Yamaha Music School portfolio is offering courses as from the age of 4 months. These courses for babies are operated in Baltics, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece.