Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Music in Early Childhood?

Why Music in Early Childhood?

What is the benefit of early childhood music, and why has the Joyful Noise C-Fund supported its cause with the Gift of Music Classes—a free service to children in the community?

Each year, Joyful Noise C-Fund’s non-profit program reaches children who might not otherwise be able to afford early childhood music education. From local Grand Haven Head Start students to children at Holland’s Stepping Stones daycare for the homeless and transient, kids from infancy through preschool age are receiving free instruments along with fun, age-appropriate music instruction through the C-Fund’s A Gift of Music classes.

But what is the benefit—besides being fun?

 According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, “music intelligence is equal in importance to logical-mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence.” The multiplicity of benefits to the mind can be seen while viewing the brain through CAT scans; many different areas of the brain are activated through music exposure. Perhaps most interestingly, chunks of information that are ready to be learned can be “bonded” together through songs and melodies. This concept is illustrated through the firm cementing of such childhood songs as the ABC’s, or months of the year—and remembering for decades later as an adult that “thirty days has September.”

The benefits of early childhood music aren’t just academic, though, according to A Gift of Music instructor Chantal Roeske. “All types of children adore music class,” she says of the many students seen each year ranging from infancy through school age. “It brings joy to children with different personality types, ages, and learning capabilities. It is especially therapeutic for children who may struggle with socio-emotional or behavioral issues.” Roeske points out, however, that music class is a luxury for some. “Classes like Kindermusik are very expensive, and music is not often incorporated into preschool programs for cost reasons.”

This year, the Joyful Noise C-Fund has targeted approximately 50 young children in the Grand Haven and Holland area with the Gift of Music Program. Each child receives a free instrument coupled with three consecutive classes that explore everything from culture to music theory. The 2016 instrument theme is tambourines, and students learn how to use and care for their instruments as part of the course, before taking them home at completion. The C-Fund relies on donations from the community to fund their programs each year. Information on the program can be found at here

Are you interested in incorporating music into your young child’s life to reap the developmental benefits? Here are some quick and easy suggestions:

  • Let your child choose the soundtrack. Put on the radio in the car, and let them decide on their favorite station. Ask them what they like about the music—point out what you hear, and ask them to do the same.
  • Take turns making up rhymes.
  • Ask your child to repeat patterns—rhythmic clapping, words or different sounds and pitches.
  • Experiment with home-made instruments (like paper plate tambourines or water bottle shakers.)
  • Talk to your children about your music preferences—play music for them, and ask for their feedback.


Gardner, H. Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1983.

Harman, M. “Music and Movement - Instrumental in Language Development.” Early Childhood News. 2008.