The Many Ways Learning Musical Concepts Can Boost Your Child’s Development

The Many Ways Learning Musical Concepts Can Boost Your Child’s Development

Most people have some type of music that they love, and your baby is no exception. Plus, learning music can give her a wide variety of benefits from a very early age. Listening to music will not only help her develop math and spatial reasoning skills, but it will also support her communication and language skills since songs and rhymes share a similar rhythm to spoken language.1 In developing Musical Concepts skills, she will explore the use of volume, sounds, and tempo in songs, rhymes, and language.

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When your baby listens to music, various parts of her brain activate at the same time. For instance, listening to a familiar song will light up her left frontal lobe, while the timbre and pitch of the song will activate the right frontal and left posterior lobes, respectively.2 And while the left side of the brain processes the words and musical structure of a song, the right side processes the melody.3 With all of this neural activity occurring, it’s no wonder that the overall function of your brain increases with music!

In addition, listening to music helps build your baby’s memory capacity. While a person’s short term memory is only capable of storing about seven items, the brain can receive and process more if these bits of information are “bonded” together, as in a song. By putting all of the separate pieces of information into a single song, you’ll be able to stretch your baby’s memory skills, boosting her information retention and language development.2

When you add Body Movements and Dancing to your baby’s music listening and singing, there will be even more learning benefits! Movement helps by increasing her blood circulation, causing more oxygen to be brought to her brain, which is necessary for proper brain functioning.4 Dancing with music also produces endorphins and dopamine, brain-based chemicals that produce feelings of energy and pleasure, giving her the emotional fuel necessary to learn and grow.1,2 Body movements with rhythm, such as clapping hands to the beat of a song, has been shown to stimulate the frontal lobes of the brain and enrich both language and motor development simultaneously.5 Even more specifically, encouraging your baby to dance with cross-lateral movements, actively moving body parts from one side of the body across to the other side, will strengthen brain connections for motor development, analytical thinking, and language acquisition!1,2

As early as the fourth month of pregnancy, your baby started listening to music and sounds! After birth, she continued practicing her Musical Concepts skills every time she listened to her rattle shake or imitated your speech with her own vocalizations. Along the way, you mostly likely encouraged her learning by singing lullabies and doing fingerplay songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Pat-a-Cake” together.6

Continue singing to your baby and playing a wide variety of music for her to listen to and enjoy.7,8 Contrary to what the media and many children’s product manufacturers claim, listening to Mozart or classical music in itself will not increase your baby’s IQ (the “Mozart Effect”).9 But listening to a variety of positive, energetic, and rhythmic music, from classical to rock and roll, has been shown to contribute to her spatial reasoning abilities.10 Just be sure to keep the volume at a safe level and stay aware of the vocabulary she may learn from the music you play!

Like everything else, learn what types of music she prefers because it will go a long way in holding her attention. There are many wonderful children’s albums available to help you expose your baby to appropriate and educational music. Do you play an instrument? Sing to her, dance with her, and play an instrument for her! The bottom line is that you should find frequent moments to share the gift of music and dance with your baby!

Play Tips:

Do you want to know how you can support your baby’s development of Musical Concepts and Dancing skills at this age? It’s easy! Read on for some simple tips to incorporate into your daily play time together.

  1. Play music that engages your baby. Music can be played any time of day to enhance learning. If you are trying to engage your baby in active play, consider offering upbeat children’s music that she can dance, march, wiggle, clap, and move to. During quiet times or activities, choose a quiet lullaby or soothing music to help relax and calm her. In this way, you can show her how music can enhance any learning situation and perhaps spark a lifelong love of music and dance at the same time! Try to play music for your baby in a purposeful manner because her brain will eventually learn to drown out music as “background noise” if played for long periods of time.1
  2. Play instruments together. Playing instruments along with music can improve your baby’s math and spatial reasoning over time,3 as well as develop her sense of rhythm, which enhances language and vocabulary skills.2 If you do not have access to actual instruments, filling a screw-top plastic container with cereal puffs can make a great maraca, and the classic wooden spoon with a pot makes a wonderful drum.
  3. Dance with your baby. Whether your baby is mobile or not, pick her up and dance together. By holding her and dancing with her in your arms, she will feel the rhythm of the music and how your body moves to the beat of the sound.

(SPECIAL OFFER: Sign up for Playful Bee’s Bee Well developmental learning program to give your baby the best start in life. The first 10,000 children enroll for FREE! Sign up today.)

Developmental Milestones:

Has your baby achieved the following Musical Concepts and Dancing developmental milestones yet? If yes, check off all the skill(s) she has already mastered to date using Playful Bee’s developmental milestones tracker. It’s absolutely FREE and easy to use, just click HERE!

  • Moves to music by bouncing or rocking.
  • Shows a preference for certain songs.


1Gellens, Suzanne R. (2013). Building Brains. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

2Harman, Maryann. Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development. Early Childhood News. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from

3Fun Music Company (2012). How Does Music Stimulate Left and Right Brain Function? Why is this Important? Fun Music Company. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from

4Jensen, Eric (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

5Campbell, Don G. and Brewer, Chris (1991). Rhythms of learning. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press.

6Illinois State Board of Education. For Children Birth to Age Three: Illinois Early Learning Guidelines.

7Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (2009). Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood.

8Nevada Office of Early Care and Education and Nevada Department of Education (2011). Nevada Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines.

9Chabris, Christopher F. (1999). Prelude or Requiem for the “Mozart Effect”? Nature, 400 (847), 826-827.

10Thompson, W.F.; Schellenberg, E.G.; and Husain, G. (2001). Mood, Arousal, and the Mozard EffectPsychological Science, 12(3), 248-251.



Playful Bee

Education Team at Playful Bee
Playful Bee is an e-Preschool that delivers inquiry-based preschool learning from the classroom to your home. Our preschool curriculum was created by our talented team of rock star teachers. With years of hands-on preschool and Kindergarten teaching experience, they've developed a high-quality preschool experience that is convenient-to-use and easy-to-teach by you, grandparents, or your nanny at home.

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