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Be kind. Encourage compassion. Inspire creativity. Nurture courage. Grow your mind.

How Music Impacts Childhood Development and Learning

June 10, 2023

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!  

How music impacts childhood development and 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.  

4 musical activities to try with kids

  1. Write songs together: One of the easiest and most effective ways to integrate music into learning is by encouraging kids and adults to collaborate and make up silly song lyrics. Demonstrating the value (and fun!) in letting loose and being creative encourages kids to do the same!
  1. DJ in the car: My daughter and I have a weekly tradition where we go get ice cream and swap songs we are listening to with each other on the car ride. This helps us spend quality time together while also learning more about each other and our musical interests. 
  1. Produce some tunes: I firmly believe that you don’t have to be a tech wizard to start making beats in Garageband or any other music software. Not sure where to start? There are plenty of YouTube videos to get you started. You’d be surprised how much math and critical thinking goes into making simple beats and audio tracks.
  1. Play with musical instruments: You don’t have to be virtuoso or aspire to hit the road full-time, but strumming three chords around a campfire while friends and family sing along is pure joy. I tell people it takes 10 minutes a day and you’ll be playing in no time! Learning an instrument has benefits for a lifetime, long after your sportsball days have come and gone. You’re never too young or old to learn something new! 

About Richard Upchurch and BrandNew Noise

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.” 

For more ideas of how to teach kids about kindness, compassion and curiosity, follow Curious B.E.I.N.G.s on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to the Curious B.E.I.N.G.s newsletter.

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