How Music and Movement Is Important in Child Development

You may consider music and the arts to be nice extras but not vital in a child’s development; however, research demonstrates a strong link between music and brain development. When children listen to and learn about music, it strengthens everything from math skills and pre-reading skills to social and emotional skills.

Let’s take a look at the effect of music on children.


From a very early age, babbling and sound play help infants develop the neural pathways necessary for listening and speaking. Children who hear language directed at them—rather than adults just speaking around them—babble more and develop larger vocabularies by toddlerhood. Children are able to mimic musical sounds at an early age, which is one way they make sense of the world around them.

Motor skills

Learning how to make basic forms of music through tapping, clapping and movement helps develop a child’s gross motor skills. Simple songs combined with play are great for enhancing body coordination and brain activity. Learning an instrument supports fine motor control development. The connection between music and brain development is clear, and these activities help children grow.

Academic skills

Research demonstrates that exposing children to music in early development stages helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Children engaged in music build skills in school readiness. Learning to play an instrument is linked to stronger abilities in math and can even increase standardized testing scores. Musical experiences in childhood have been proven to improve language acquisition skills and reading skills as well.

Cognitive skills

Engaging with music often involves children utilizing many different abilities at the same time. For example, let’s say your three-year-old loves to sing a song and dance around your house for hours on end. You might consider this endearing but shrug off any potential benefits.

The fact is that this self-expression is helping your child’s development on numerous fronts. Your child is focusing on more than one thing at the same time: singing and dancing. This kind of whole-brain activity is crucial for cognitive development. Your child may also be making up their own lyrics, the kind of creative play that’s great for language development and imagination.

Social and emotional skills

Children engaged in music will feel emotions they might not feel otherwise. They may learn to empathize with others as they memorize song lyrics. Later on, they may play music with others, learning how to blend sounds together and work as a team. These cooperative skills will serve them well from adolescence into adulthood. Music offers a way for children to create a deeper connection to themselves, their peers and the world they live in.

We hope this guide to the effects of music on children has been helpful. At Assumption Academy, we foster growth and development for children ages two to six. Our school is a warm, nurturing environment where children feel safe to express themselves. We offer a range of programs including preschool, mommy and me, kindergarten and more. Contact us right now to find out more.