The studies conducted on music and physical movements clearly defined the role of both in the development of a child’s brain. Music with creative movements mainly helps in two ways. First, they enhance the physical, emotional, cognitive and also creative aspects of a child. Secondly, they enrich the curriculum of children. Researches are still trying to find the relationship between music with creative movements and child’s brain development. Investigators found out lots of important information that support the effective use of music with creative movements at the very first stage of the lives of children.
Music and rhythm are all around us, in fact, we live in a world of sounds, rhythmic patterns and creative movements. The rhythmic sound of breeze and accompanying rain and the melodies rhythm of passing days and seasons form a biological order and at the same time touch our sense. Music with creative movements is essential for all human beings and it needs to be included in the early stages of their lives.
Infants start their communication with parents using sounds and movements. They learn to communicate this way with the help of their parents’ or grandparents’ lullabies or creative dance moments keeping the infants in their hands. That is considered as the first door for a child towards the exciting world of music and movements.
A child who indulges in musical experience with creative movements are able to:
- participate in group effectively
- develop social skills
- improve self-concept
- improve listening skills
- refine the awareness of movement and body positions
- develop creativity and imagination
- lean new word and concepts
- enlarge motor skills
- improve balance, coordination and rhythm
Studies conducted over years have proven that, music with creative movements enhances children’s creative abilities. Hence, researchers all over the world suggested the use of music with creative movements right from the beginning of a child’s education. With the effective use of music and creative movements, we help children to grow and develop emotionally, imaginatively, socially and cognitively.
Why Music with Creative Movements Is Important?
Questions have been raised from all around the world regarding the importance of music with creative movements in a child’s life. National Association of Music Education (NAME) submitted a position paper in 1991 conveyed the fact that music with creative movements like clapping, swaying or dangling from one side to another helps in the development and growth of a child’s brain.
A research conducted by Howard Gardner (American developmental psychologist) in 2006, strongly supported the fact that music and movements help in the brain growth and development of children. According to the research, multisensory musical traits that involve oral, visual and tangible movements result in the critical growth spurts in the brain. Similarly, multisensory musical behaviors that involve singing, moving, playing musical instruments, and listening results in a trigger on the right and left hemispheres of a young child’s brain and thus optimize learning activities.
“A great deal of exercise shows that the music activities engage the left, right, front and back portions of the brain. In fact, studying music involves more right and left brain functions than any other activities measured.” (Hebermeyer 1999.)
Music with Creative Movements and Brain’s Development
Brain is the central part of the much larger system, the human body. The functioning of a human body directly or indirectly depends on the brain, and it is connected with all the other body parts, including complex nervous system and nervous.
An average of over 100 million neurons is found in our brain, each is linked to other neurons. Various experiences a child receives in his childhood result in the effective use of these neurons and hence the continuous usage makes the neurons stronger. This incessant usage of neurons results in the development of brain more times better than a child not indulge in childhood activities.
Music with creative movements is one of the most effective ways to make a neuron to form a bond between another neuron to create connection known as synapses. The more connection it forms, the better make the brain to receive any kinds of information and handle them effectively, results in immense brain development.
Much of the brain development happens in the early stages of the childhood. Studies conducted have proven that, there are more neural activities and the formation of synapses in child’s brain with respect to adult’s brain as the child’s and adult’s brain are entirely different from each other with respect to structure and form. The more a child indulges in activities, the better the brain engages in neural activity and results in brain development. “During the first decades of life, a child typically has up to twice as many neural activities and connections as adults. There is clear evidence that brain tissues and memory storage regions gain functional power and change in morphology as a result of stimulation and use.” (Johnson 2005).
Musical experiments with creative movements of individual are coded in the brain as:
- motor systems.
In other words, it is termed as multimodal display. As we discussed earlier, right and left hemispheres of the brain take part mainly in the process of handling the musical experiments and rhythmic movements. The creation of synapses and development of dendrites is more in brain while it processes the musical experiences. As children involve in music with creative movements more than the adult, they get higher brain functions involving to intricate reasoning task than the adult. This is because, the pathways used for both music and reasoning are almost the same in our brain. When we experience the rhythm of music and move according to the beat, the pathways for spatial reasoning are opened and ready to be used.
Several researches conducted so far admitted the fact that musical experiences result in the physical development of the brain of children. The type of music a child is experiencing also has an effect on the level of brain development. Scientists like Schlaug and others conducted research of how musical experiments with creative movements alter the morphology of the brain. They conducted some experiments on some keyboard players. The result of the experiments was that, the level of gray matter found in the professional keyboard players in parts of their brain was more than the part-time and non-musicians. The research threw light into the findings that musical activities and creative movements have the ability to alter the morphology of the brain.
Especially in education scenario, a concept known as hemispheric localization was very popular in 1980s and 1990s. People, including educational trainers, believed that some educational activities help to develop right side of the brain and similarly some other activities are helpful in the growth of the left side of the brain of the children. As a result of the belief, children during those times were engaged by the parents and the teachers to indulge in certain kinds of activities in a balanced way in order to develop the right and left side of the brain simultaneously. However, a research is done on how brain processes music with movements paved a way for the fading of the concept of hemispheric localization. It was found that both the hemispheres of the brain respond simultaneously to musical triggers enter into the brain. Studies also found that the neural connections which support music are collectively distributed over the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Along with that, music with creative movements helps to accelerate sub modules in the brain such as musical syntax operators, timber operators and rhythm operators. When a child listens to “Jhony, Jhony, Yes Pappa” and moving according to the rhythm, various sub modules in the brain are coordinated in a synchronized manner which results in the development of the brain tissues.
Songs, movement and musical games are brilliant neurological exercises vital to intellectual development. “By combining rhythmic movement with speech and song, we are giving the young children the opportunity to develop their minds, particularly in the areas of “inner speech” and “impulse control”, which contribute to language development, self-management and social skills. (Coulter 1995, 22).
Let us see in a nut shell some of the points related to how music with creative movements enhances the brain development of children.
- Music with passionate movements helps to generate sudden spurt in the brain which helps to enhance the qualities needed for a child to listen, read, write, anticipate, remember, recall and concentrate.
- Creative movements, which are the indirect outcome of music, help a child to control their body and also help to familiarize with their left-right sides. Understanding left-right orientation is crucial for reading as well as writing.
- Music and rhythmic movements enhance parts of the brain specialized in emotion and memory.
- Music and creative movements develop the self-control traits in human brain. Children practicing music and creative movements gradually develop self- control which enables them to carefully move their bodies or raise their voice while participating in a musical activity.
- Music with rhythmic movements leads children into the world of language and sensory-motors skills spontaneously
- Music enables a child to move rhythmically; hence they develop logic and rhythmic skills during their early stages of life. Gradually, children learn to solve problems effectively.
- Music helps a child to learn his language swiftly. Music with creative movements helps language to feed in the brain of a child quickly than any other creative programs.
- Music helps a child better understand the math principles like fraction, geometry, proportion effectively because the child develops spatial-temporal ability due to the continuous musical experiments.
Music with Creative Movements and Memory
Studies have found that music with creative movements have the magic of enhancing the brain memory system of children and even the adults mainly in two ways. While the children indulge in musical experience accompanied with creative movements, the musical experience activates the part of their brain responsible for attention. Secondly, musical activities enhance the multiple memory system of the brain which results in the advancement of memory, including recall and retention.
An interesting study conducted by McMaster University in Canada successfully stated their hypothesis statement, ‘Music enhances memory in children.’ The university conducted the study using 12 children aged between 4 to 6 years old. The children were divided into two groups, six members in each. The first group was made to listen bursts of white noise and the second group was exposed tones of melodious violin everyday for fixed time for a period of one year. The experiments were conducted to analyze the difference in memory enhancement in both the groups. The result of the study was that the memory of the second group had improved much better than the first group. They have shown improvement in multiple areas like literacy, verbal memory, mathematics and general IQ. The study reinforced the concept that continuous exposure to music in the early stages of life improves memory.
Another study conducted by the University of California in the same subject declared that continuous listening to Mozart helps children to improve their scores in their memory test. The study also showed that children exposed to Mozart could recall the shapes and patters better than those who were not exposed to music. Hence, the conclusion is that music with creative movements enhances memory of children better than other children who expose to silence or background noise.
Classical Music and Brain Development
Some researchers claim that listening classical music for a while and then indulge in some spatial tasks provide more positive results. They claim that, those children complete the task quickly and effectively.
The structure and composition of classical music especially Bach, Beethoven and Mozart are entirely different from other kinds of music. Compare to other forms of music, the structure of classical music is complicated. As classical music is more intricate, continues listening to such music in the early stages of a child’s life help his brain to code the complex structure. Hence, in the early stages itself the brain of the child adapts to complex ideas and structures. This will help him to solve complex spatial problems effectively and quickly in the later stages of his life.
Some people and also researchers have a belief that listening classical music like the works of Mozart increases a child’s intelligence. Some studies are conducted among college students in this behalf. A group of students were made to listen to classical songs for a while before they had to appear for an IQ test. The experiments thus conducted found that, the IQ of students who listened to classical music was higher compared to other students who were not.
There are claims not valued by research like listening classical music regularly helps a child to be intelligent throughout his life. The notion was not so supported by scholars even thought it had been celebrated by the media and they gave the name of the notion as ‘Mozart Effect’.
Hence, we can conclude by saying that listening classical music has a different impact on a child’s brain than listening to other kinds of songs. However, this doesn’t mean that experiencing other kinds of music would not help a child. Involving in musical related activities helps a child to develop their relaxation, freedom of expression and also improved awareness of their own bodies.
Conclusion: Investigations are still trying to define clearly the role of music with creative movements in children’s brain development. However, most of the conducted researches in the subject concluded that music and movements activate certain parts of the brain. Studies have found that the temporal region located in the left side of the brain is more activate when a child learns the lyrics of a song. Similarly, the right side of the brain gets stimulated when a child sings a melody.