As parents, you are always looking for new ways to engage with your child through fun and playful activities but sometimes it can be hard to identify whether there is a legitimate benefit. Have you ever considered how good instruments are for your toddler? In this article we will discuss why music is important for children and toddlers as well as the benefits of playing a musical instrument.
So, why are musical instruments good for toddlers? Musical instruments are good for toddlers because they help to develop vital skills needed when they start education. For example, they help with sensory development, improve social and emotional skills, and enhance hand- eye coordination.
Read on to learn more about musical instruments and why they are good for toddlers and their development.
Why are Musical Instruments Good for Toddlers?
Musical instruments are good for toddlers because they help to develop the vital social and motor skills required for early education. A study from the US, took a group of 232 children with a variation of exposure and training to musical instruments and completed multiple tests and scans to determine how their brains had developed differently.
The study found that the children who had undergone even basic musical training had an increase in cortical thickness, which is responsible for brain functions including memory, organisation skills, concentration, coordination and emotional impulse control.
These skills all contribute to early education in terms of how well a child can cope in challenging social situations and have been proven to help develop young children into mature, emotionally aware, well-rounded adults.
How Does Playing Musical Instruments Help a Child's Development?
Playing a musical instrument helps a child’s development by encouraging them to recognise how their cognitive decisions can determine the actions they make, in this case leading to musical sounds. This is known as hand-eye coordination and is vital for development in school and throughout adult life.
Furthermore, learning to play a musical instrument takes patience and concentration. If a child is exposed to this at a young age it teaches them the value in investing these skills into a task and how amazing the outcome can be. These are important lessons that children should learn and can be translated into future life. For example, it could help them be disciplined with homework later in school.
Musical instruments can help children to understand and manage their emotions. Often, learning to play a musical instrument involves a variety of emotions, from frustration when they are struggling on a particular part, confusion when they are trying to learn new chords, and overall happiness from achieving something or producing enjoyable music. In adult life we are faced with emotional difficulties regularly, so developing emotional maturity at a young age is highly beneficial.
Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument
Playing a musical instrument can provide huge benefits to anyone, especially children. Below we have listed the main benefits of learning to play a musical instrument even at a basic level.
- Increases perseverance
- Enhances coordination
- Improves reading skills
- Sharpens concentration skills
- Relieves stress
- Promotes social skills
- Boosts listening skills
- Creates a sense of achievement
- Teaches discipline
- Enhances the respiratory system
Why is Music Important for Infants and Toddlers?
Music is incredibly important for infants and toddlers, and according to music expert Dr. Ibrahim Baltagi, music can also be beneficial when played whilst the baby is still in the womb. By 24 weeks into pregnancy, the baby’s ears are developed enough to allow them to respond to voices and noise. Singing lullabies and playing music to a baby in the womb can help develop the baby’s emotions and relationship with the mother before it is even born.
Dr. Ibrahim Baltagi also explains how exposure to music can help develop the skills that are required for school readiness, specifically in language acquisition and reading skills. Furthermore, he also explained that music can help toddlers learn to manage their emotions which is why it is so successful at soothing them to sleep as it can act as a calming mechanism.
What Age Should a Child Start Playing an Instrument?
It is recommended that the ideal age for introducing a child to playing an instrument is at the age of 5. This is because at this age they have the physical ability to hold themself up independently and also because they are able to concentrate for longer periods of time at that age. These are both important factors for playing an instrument, and will determine whether a child can progress to learning how to play one successfully.
On the other hand, a child can begin to learn to play a simple musical instrument from a very young age, as long as the instrument is suitable. For example, a toddler aged 2-3 probably does not have the technical ability to play a standard guitar, but there are more appropriate toy instruments such as an Xylophone and Piano toy instrument that could provide the same benefits.
What Instruments Should Kids Play?
There are no set rules for what instruments kids should play, and it is completely down to your own judgement and assessment of your child's ability to adapt to a new skill. However, there is some general guidance on what is appropriate for younger and older children, and what has proven to be successful.
Toddlers and preschoolers enjoy more fun orientated musical toys such as percussion instruments. These can include drums, tambourines, or rattles and are often used in groups of children. These types of instruments are ideal for toddlers because they are small enough to fit in their hands whilst also teaching them about rhythm, and music at the same time. What’s more, these instruments aren’t too complex, so give the children a realistic opportunity to learn at the current ability.
Piano and keyboard instruments are also ideal for toddlers and preschoolers. Whilst being fun and manageable for their small hands, they teach toddlers to listen and understand both pitch and tone. Piano is also a good instrument for your toddler to be introduced to as it has development stages and can be continued throughout childhood, and even into adulthood.
About The Early Teacher
The Early Teacher provides a range of educational toys and activities for children to help them develop before and alongside education. With a variety of toys and instruments, chosen with your child’s development at the forefront, The Early Teacher can support you in choosing an appropriate instrument to aid your child's cognitive development.
We stock a range of musical instrument toys that are suitable for toddlers whilst still encouraging positive cognitive development. Both the Xylophone and Piano Toy and the Pound and Tap Bench are ideal musical instruments to meet your toddlers entertainment and educational needs.
For more information on The Early Teacher’s musical instruments click here.