If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, day care provider, or someone who works with kids in any way, you should know the benefits of singing with children. While you probably have fond memories of singing “Old MacDonald” or “The Teensy Weensy Spider” as a kid, you may not realize that learning to sing and enjoy music can provide a number of benefits for children beyond simple entertainment.  In fact, people have known for centuries that there are many positive reasons for children to learn to sing. Plato wrote that music, “is a more potent instrument than any other for education,” and many modern scientific studies back up his conclusion. Here are just a few of the benefits of singing for and with children.

1)      Music prepares young brains for learning. The University of California recently did a study, which found that 2nd graders who were given singing lessons scored 27% higher on a test of fractions and proportional math than their peers who were not given musical instruction. The human brain does not stop growing until people reach their early twenties, and the more that music is experienced at an early age, the more brain function tends to grow and expand.

2)       Singing expands physical abilities. A very young toddler who learns to sing “Ring Around the Rosy” is developing muscle coordination and body control. The rhythm and rhyme of children’s’ songs promote clapping, dancing, twirling, and other physical movements that help young children to improve both fine and gross motor skills. As youngsters grow, they can add drums, kazoos, and other simple instruments to their songs, which will further enhance physical movement.

3)      Singing helps young children express their emotions in acceptable ways. We have all had the experience of singing a joyous song at the top of our lungs when something great happens. Likewise, everyone can relate to the calming influence of a ballad, or the sadness evoked by a country song. Children often need help to find outlets for their emotions. If they are taught to sing the “Barney” song to their baby brother rather than squeezing him like a melon, everyone involved is much happier. By the same token, a rousing chorus of “Here Comes Santa Clause” can do a lot to channel a child’s excitement into a constructive vein, and is much easier on the adults in the house than watching a preschooler run wildly through the halls in anticipation.

4)      Singing creates an appreciation for music and other arts. A child that has grown up with an enjoyment of songs is much more likely to reap the benefits that come from understanding fine arts of all types. When a child tries to remember all the verses to “Hush Little Baby,” he or she will have a feel for the challenges of professional musicians and will come to appreciate their skill and talent. He will learn the benefits of practice and rehearsal at an early age, and develop a respect for the stick-to-itiveness that is required if he wants to excel in any area of life.

5)      Singing is a great way for children to learn teamwork and to bond with others. Kids who sing with family members, or in a chorus are learning vital skills that will serve them well in many other pursuits. They find out that what they do can impact the group either positively or negatively, and that each person on a team has a responsibility for the outcome of their efforts.

Singing lasts a lifetime. While most people will not be able participate in their favorite sports as senior citizens, or be as active in the workplace as they once were, they will still be able to enjoy music and singing at an advanced age. Children who love to sing as youngsters will have a hobby they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.

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