Music Fosters Social and Emotional Learning in Children

What is it about music? It’s everywhere it seems – your doctor’s office, the local mall, in your car, and in places of worship. It’s piped into elevators and offices, and it’s part of holidays and celebrations (can you imagine a wedding without music?). And parents naturally sing to their babies. Music is a big part of our lives, and it can have a significant impact on certain skills and development.

Music fosters social and emotional learning in children. Let’s look at how and why that happens.

Social Learning

Music fosters social learning in various ways. Here are some of them.

* Music connects children who might otherwise not discover they have anything in common. Sharing a love for certain types of music creates an almost automatic bond. It helps provide children with a framework on which they can socialize.

* Children respond to music – try playing some in your home and see what happens! Here is another way that music fosters social learning – it can help kids and parents bond and relate to each other.

* Babies respond to music, too. Maybe this is why parents instinctively sing to their infants. When we sing to babies, it provides a sort of communication between you and the baby. This can lay the groundwork for effective verbal communication when your baby gets older.

* Participating in music – either as dancing, studying, or playing an instrument – gives children a sense of confidence that they then take into their interpersonal relationships. Confident kids tend to attract friends!

Emotional Learning

This type of learning is also enhanced by music. Here are some ways that happens.

* Music can provide an emotional outlet for children. This can be in the form of playing an instrument or dancing to music. It can also involve drawing or writing poems to music.

* The effects of music on mood are well-known, and these effects hold true for children too. Children can learn to manage their feelings by listening to appropriate music to calm them down, give them energy, or help lift their mood.

* Recognizing emotions is another way that music helps children with emotional learning. Music helps kids to “hear” what certain feelings sound like, and they can learn to tell what emotion is evoked by a particular piece of music. It helps them get “in touch” with what they are feeling.

* Appropriate self-expression springs from a sense of self, and music (especially early music education) can help immensely with this.

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