By Charlotte Thistle & Chat GPT
Music is a vital part of human culture, and exposing children to music at an early age can have positive effects on their development. Research suggests that the early years of childhood are a sensitive period for learning music and that musical experiences during this time can have significant benefits.
A study by Zentner and Kagan (1996) found that infants as young as 5 months old showed a preference for consonant over dissonant music. This suggests that infants are capable of processing and responding to musical stimuli at a very early age. This sensitivity to music continues throughout early childhood.
A study by Strait et al. (2012) found that children who received musical training before the age of 7 had better auditory and motor skills than those who did not receive music training. These findings support the notion that early childhood is a critical time for developing musical abilities.
Other studies have found that exposure to music at an early age can improve language skills, social and emotional development, and cognitive function (Gromko, 2005; Schellenberg, 2004). This is likely because music requires the use of various cognitive skills, such as auditory discrimination, memory, and attention.
In addition to the benefits of early musical exposure, there is evidence that the type of musical experiences a child has during early childhood is important. For example, a study by Lillard et al. (2018) found that children who received formal piano lessons before the age of 7 had better language skills than those who did not receive piano lessons or who received lessons after the age of 7. This suggests that the type and timing of musical experiences are important factors in determining the benefits of early musical exposure.
Overall, the literature suggests that early childhood is a sensitive period for learning music and that the benefits of musical experiences during this time can be significant. Parents and caregivers who expose children to music at an early age may be setting the stage for a lifetime of musical enjoyment and cognitive benefits.