Music and the brain
Music activates all areas of the brain, from the oldest part, the amygdala or brain stem, to the frontal lobes. Activities that stimulate both sides of the brain help us integrate our rational and emotional thinking.
Music and literacy
Singing songs stimulates language development. Remembering songs uses a different part of the memory to spoken words, and children are able to learn words more easily in this context.
Some of our work specifically supports literacy targets through music.
Songs from other cultures are a great leveller for children with English as an additional language.
Music and numeracy
Working with rhythm develops a sense of pattern and sequence, which is the basis of numeracy. Rhythm develops these skills at a somatic level: it is embedded in the body and will not be forgotten.
We can work specifically to support the numeracy curriculum.
Music and movement
Through musical engagement, music children develop both gross and fine motor skills. From moving and dancing in time to music, to the subtleties of using beaters to tap and scrape in time with others, children are striving to use their bodies in new ways.
Music and emotional literacy
Music provides an immediate and accessible way into development of emotional literacy. The variations of music – loud, quiet, fast, slow, high, low – connect directly with ideas of different feelings and moods. Our Mood Music project specifically targets Emotional literacy.
Music and socialisation
Music is a sociable activity. It stimulates a basic desire to join in with others through being rhythmically in time together, and singing together provides instant rewards for teamwork.
Music and inclusion
Music can be accessed by everyone at their own level. Children who have difficulty focussing on more verbal or conceptual topics can engage at a more immediate and physical level in music. The non-verbal nature of music enables even children with severe disabilities to join in in their own way.
Children can express their ideas instrumentally in a way that would be impossible or taboo verbally. And music provides opportunities for verbal expression in a fun and permissive context. All children can enjoy tasks that enable them to express through music.
Staff frequently comment that children succeed in music who have difficulty in much of the rest of the curriculum.
Music and fun!
Singing and playing music is fun! Children are are almost universally keen to take part. This provides great motivation to develop their skills in all the areas above.
Enjoying taking part in group music-making raises children’s self-esteem, makes them more ready for other learning, and can lift their whole experience of school or nursery!