Music and Intellectual Development - By Alison Cusack & Linda Repic
As parents we are always looking for ways to help our little ones get everything they need to develop and grow into well-mannered, smart and strong little humans. We take them to all sorts of activities, sports, dancing, library story time, swimming, music programs and anything else we can manage to cram in at home all in the hopes of improving our children’s physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
Let’s have a closer look at intellectual development. So what is intellectual or cognitive development? Cognitive development refers to how a person perceives, thinks and gains understanding of his or her world through the interaction of genetic and learned factors. It is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving and decision making from childhood through to adolescence to adulthood (www.healthofchildren.com/C/Cognitive-Development.html). The most well-known theory of cognitive development is that of psychologist Jean Piaget. Piaget (1952) proposed that children pass through four increasingly sophisticated cognitive stages, each building on from the previous. The stages are as follows:
Sensorimotor stage (Birth – 2 years): The baby knows the world through their movements and sensations. Babies learn about the world through basic actions such as sucking, grasping, looking and listening. Babies learn that things continue to exist even though they cannot be seen (object permanence/memory) and therefore can attach words and names to objects. Babies not only learn how to perform physical actions such as crawling and walking during this stage but they also learn a great deal about language from the people around them, being able to make their first sounds/words.
Preoperational stage (2 – 7 years): Child begin to use symbols, that is they learn to use words and pictures to represent objects. Children struggle to see things from the perspective of others and while they are getting better with language and thinking they still tend to think in very concrete terms. Language is a major area of development in this stage.
Concrete operational stage (7 – 11 years): Children begin to think logically about concrete events. They begin to use reasoning skills. Children become better at thinking about how other people might view a situation. They start to understand that their thoughts are unique to them and that not everyone will necessarily share them.
Formal Operational stage (12 years and up): Adolescents develop an increased ability to use logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning and an understanding of abstract ideas. They can see multiple potential solutions to problems and think more scientifically about the world around them.
So how does music benefit the cognitive development of our little ones?
Research has shown that consistent, quality music education promotes rapid cognitive development in children and can improve IQ by as much as 7 points. Music is one of the only activities that stimulates and uses the entire brain, and this has been proven through CT scanning and scientific research.
Through the analysis of brain scans, scientists have identified neural pathways that react almost exclusively to the sound of music. The act of making music through playing instruments, creates high levels of cognitive function in the following areas:
- Language development
- Complex problem solving
- Logical reasoning
- Emotional intelligence
- Attention span and focus
The study of music also has a significant impact on social and emotional learning, which are just as important as academic ability. Music helps us to express and moderate our emotions, helps us to relax in times of stress, helps to regulate our energy and arousal levels and helps us to navigate social interactions.
Mini Maestros is a targeted program, in that every activity has a purpose and is linked to the cognitive level of children in each age group.
The use of peekaboo and parachute activities in our babies and 1-2’s classes highlight the development of object permanence, which develops in the sensorimotor stage. Until this has developed, most babies will experience separation anxiety when they are unable to see their carer. By consistently using peekaboo activities, the development of object permanence is quickened and separation anxiety reduced.
Dances are always a favourite across all our age groups, and while they are fun, they of course have a purpose! Dances use patterns which help to develop sequencing and maths skills. The parachute is used in the same way, as is is moved in different ways to match the form of the music.
Our 3-4’s and 4-5’s programs, have a strong emphasis on explicit learning. This includes the beginning of left to right reading, following patterns of coloured spots to play songs on the chime bars and the use of symbols to represent musical concepts such as dynamics, beat and rhythm.
And of course the pinnacle of all our music classes is the use of instruments! The good old stop/start of the music actually improves attention and listening skills! Playing instruments also builds on our innate feeling of beat, and devlops the concept of mathematical sequencing through changing our action to match the form of the music.
There is no denying the impact and value of music. It is clear to see and experience in our classes each week when we watch our children and their carers enjoy and discover its magic. Now we know that it is not just a fun activity to do together, but one that provides our children with so much more.
Kendra Cherry, The Four stages of Cognitive Development. Background and Key Concepts of Piaget’s Theory. (www.verywellmind.com/piagets-stages-of-cognitive-development-2795457)
Lester M Sdorow, Psychology 4th Ed, McGraw-Hill, USA, 1998
- Inter-Generational Music Making = Strengthening Friendships Through Songs and Dance by Jo Irwin, Macedon Ranges Franchisee.
- 2020 Enrolments - Another Year of Nurturing Confident Learners
- Diving Deeper - Music from Around the World - Janet Collins
- Why Have Concerts? - By Maddy Kelly, Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Music and Mood Enhancement
- Diving Deeper - Music and Vocabulary By Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo.
- Diving Deeper - Lullaby and good night - hopefully... By Judy O'Neill
- Kodály, Orff, Dalcroze and Suzuki - By Jo Irwin - Mini Maestros Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Franchisee
- New Mini Maestros Customer App
- Diving Deeper - Connection by Maddy Kelly - Mini Maestros' Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Imagination. By Caroline Paterson
- Diving Deeper - Creativity by Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo Franchisee
- Interview with Dr Anita Collins – By Esther Bertram
- Onlooker Learners - By Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head Of Teaching
- Meet The Team - Ally Hvalica
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 1 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 2 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Physical Skills - By Taryn Wright
- Inter-generational music making is building healthy communities
- Writing Music Down - by 3MBS
- Diving Deeper - Social Skills by Kate Rice
- The Importance of Repetition
- Diving Deeper - Learning to listen by Robyn Stewardson
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Esther Bertram - Marketing and Franchise Development Manager
- Meet the Team - Jo Irwin
- Diving Deeper - Imagination and Music By Lisa Marcolin
- Speech Development - Stories from Parents by Annette L. Graham
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 1 of 2
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 2 of 2
- Meeting the Head Office Team - Maddy Kelly
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Bruce Fethers - Co-owner & Managing Director
- Diving Deeper - Dance - by Cathy Edgar
- The Senses - By Robyn Grose
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Jennifer Smith - Co-owner & Music Director
- The Power of Music in Expressing Children's Emotions by Chantelle Alvaro
- Play - By Kate Howard
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Stephanie Migliore
- Relationships - By Ally Hvalica
- Developmental Milestones - By MaryRose Harrison
- Stories From Parents/Grandparents - Bobbie Carroll
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Monika Szilagyi
- JOY by Tiff Ikin
- Music Education
- Peekaboo Scarves by Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- All Shapes of the World
- Music Forever
- Children of Tomorrow: Thoughts On Mindful Music Education in the Early Childhood Space
- Nurturing the Love of Music
- Music. Feel it all over.
- Mini Maestros - It's Not Just About The Children.
- The Creative Life
- 5 Simple Ways to Nurture Creativity in Our Children
- Discovering the Joy of Music
- Five Alternative Ways to Say "Well Done!"
- "Good morning Bumblebee"
- A Mini Maestros Moment
- The exchange between teacher and child
- The joy of being a new mum, and the importance of connection learning and play
- BABIES CLASSES - a very special and important time for you and your child.
- 5 Ways To Jam With Your Child At Home
- Was Your First Mini Maestros Class What You Expected?
- Moving to a Steady Beat and the Young Brain
- Learning an Instrument