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The Importance of Music in Early Learning Outcomes

classrom with young children

Young children in classroom

Music plays a vital role in our daily lives so much more than we may know or admit. From singing to yourself in the bathroom, listening to songs the radio while you head to work or playing it on your device with your headphones on. There is music from TV, phone ring tones etc. It is all around us and it has a telling effect on our psychology and how we behave as humans. We can see here the positive impact it has on us.

Music affects us all, none the least of these are children, that is babies, toddlers and those in their early years. Right from birth, parents naturally sing to soothe and make babies calm, to engage and interact with them and also to express love to them. Asides this instinct to sing and pacify little ones, parents can learn how music can affect and impact the development of children of all ages, what these benefits are and how it helps to improve their social skills.

Have you ever wondered why there is so much musical content and materials for children? From toys that have sounds and those that sing to nursery rhymes, cartoons etc. It is because when children listen to music, it accelerates the development of their brains especially in learning languages, reading, motor movement, and co-ordination. Early exposure to music helps them learn sounds and the meaning of words. They build communication as well as motor skills and learn to express themselves both verbally and through dancing. To add to these, their memory is strengthened.

For children, there are learning outcomes that occur as they grow and develop. These outcomes shape how they communicate, socialize and how much self-esteem they develop.

How Music Helps Children

children raising hands in the classroom

Music in the classroom

Language and Communication

This includes how the little ones listen, pay attention, understand and respond by speaking. The same part of the brain used in listening to and learning music is involved in learning a language. As little ones sing, they pick up words and learn to string them together even as they embrace new melodies. This expands their vocabulary and improves their verbal communication, giving them an advantage in their education and social settings.

Research shows that children exposed to music usually perform significantly better in phonological awareness and auditory processing than those who are not. As stories are told through music and rhymes, the parts of the brain which allow them to turn the story into their own experiences are activated. This is called neural coupling. As movement is created through dance, it supports the development of their memory and makes it easier for them to remember things with accuracy. These and more are detailed in the research paper you will find here:

Social Interaction and Emotional Development

As children sing along with their peers, getting involved in activities and taking turns in acting and role playing, they share and build relationships. They learn to be sensitive to each other’s feelings and needs and in the process they bond with each other and their minders through these interactions. They also develop self-confidence, respect for others and very importantly, social skills.

When opportunities are created for children to talk, react, imagine and get involved in music in small familiar groups, they become creative, develop their personalities and can translate that easily to a larger audience after mastery. Through relating with their peers and role acting, they also learn to develop empathy, friendship, tolerance, and a positive dependence by asking for help when needed.

Physical Development and Wellbeing

When children sing, dance along to tunes in rhymes and try to act out whatever the song dictates, they develop motor skills as they move their hands, feet and their whole body. They internalize the beat in the songs and as they dance and touch, their little fingers, hands, toes, legs are stimulated and built up for strength. Think of it as an exercise for them.

A lot of children’s music encourages them to clap, dance, jump, skip, gallop, catch, hop and all. As they do these, through regular hand, leg and body movement, they develop and show good eye and hand control and co-ordination. They can express themselves, run around, scream, and burn any excess fat and lots of energy in the process, putting them in great physical shape and overall wellbeing.

Connecting to, Understanding and Contributing to the World

Through music and role-play, children know more and can connect to the world around them. Most times their first encounters and experiences with things around the world are through music and rhymes. For example, most children will know about animals and animal sounds before they physically see these animals. They know that cows moo, a cat meows, a lion roars, etc., yet they may not have seen or encounter these animals.

In addition to all of the above, by listening and dancing to music from different places and cultures, they understand, even if not fully, that there is a world bigger and different from theirs. They get to contribute to the world through knowing how the world works, how to respect and treat others, how to wash their hands and be safe from diseases. They also learn things like a need to switch off appliances when not in use and how not to waste water as they contribute to the climate and environment positively.


There are many more benefits of music as it relates to children than have been listed. The major point established in this article is the relationship between early learning outcomes and music. It is pretty clear that more emphasis should be placed on introducing children to music very early, as well as exposing them to it even more.

This will help them become more knowledgeable and creative as well as helping them relate better with people and their environment. The end result will be children who have build lasting physical, emotional, interpersonal and social skills that will be very beneficial to them through life.