By: Richard Upchurch
Music is a powerful tool that can support childhood development. Music allows children of all ages to express creativity, regulate their emotions, and connect with others. As a passionate musician and maker of musical toys myself, I find joy when the line between “tool” and “toy” is blurred. I believe music and musical expression can bring both children and adults into the space where we are playing. And, playing leads to learning!
Music is a critical component to child development on so many levels. We don’t really need to dive into the science to see evidence that music is a tool for personal growth as well as a language that connects us to a greater community. Plus, multiple studies have shown top honors colleges, Fortune 500 CEOs, and leading scientists attribute studying a musical instrument to their success. By encouraging children to dedicate time to improving their musical skills, they learn discipline, time management, patience, and more.
I also believe that music moves us, and therefore, affects our bodies, brains and environments. In fact, there is evidence of benefits to child development as early as mothers singing to their child in utero during the last trimester. Next, early childhood music classes help develop motor skills, language, tonal processing, and a laundry list of other “do the body good” concepts.
But ultimately, to me, music is about cultivating community, skills in communication, and personal identity. We are given choices in musical styles, and we begin to discover how various sounds make us feel. This cultivates emotional expression, interpersonal communication skills, encourages creativity, and in turn, can lead to confidence in how we express ourselves.
Richard Upchurch was a touring musician for 10 years with North Carolina based Emma Gibbs Band. After coming off the road, he began a career mixing records and writing music for film and television. As the industry evolved into more modern recording technology, Upchurch decided to pursue a Master’s in Music Technology at New York University.
Richard took his love for complicated sound recording gear, recording consoles, synthesizers, guitar pedals, eruo-rack synths, samplers, and worked to build instruments for everyone when he launched BrandNewNoise. BrandNewNoise toy instruments are designed to spark creativity, curiosity and cheer in kids young and old.
“It’s been fascinating to see how my audio recording devices have worked their way into some of the coolest music studios in the world as well as help kids on the spectrum find a voice,” Richard said. “What is universal is that we all love hearing our voices, right? With BrandNewNoise devices, a simple record button, playback button, and pitch control knob (speed up your recording or slow it down) allows everyone quick access to hearing their voice in fun, silly ways. It’s a playful way to work with speech, allow a child to express themselves, and can be used as a communication tool for those who have difficulty sharing their thoughts directly. At the end of the day I work to build objects that encourage creativity for everyone.”