What Is the Role of Music in Cognitive Development of a Child?
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Role of Music in Cognitive Development of a Child

Published on Feb 20, 2023   -  4 min read


Music plays a role in a child's cognitive development by improving memory, attention, language proficiency, mathematical learning, and reading abilities.


Music has played a significant role in the life of humans since the olden days. When a baby is born, the mother uses music to relax the baby and to express love. Research shows that musicians have high memory power as they connect an incident or memory to a sound or phrase that has visual and emotional elements. Music training in childhood has gained a lot of importance as recent neuroscientific research has shown the positive effects of music on the brain development of children. Children who get involved actively in music show efficiency in language pronunciation, verbal memory, logical reasoning, and complex problem-solving skills.

What Is Cognitive Development?

Children grow rapidly during the first five years of life along the four major areas of development. The four main developmental areas are language and communication, physical, emotional, and cognitive. Cognitive development in childhood involves how children think and figure things out. Cognitive development mainly involves the building up of thought processes that consist of remembering, problem-solving, and making decisions. Cognitive skills help a person to carry out every task in his daily life.

What Are the Benefits of Music in Children?

Music plays a significant role in early childhood development. The brain connections in a child are formed during the first three years of life, forming the foundation for speech, language, body movements, and cognitive skills for the later stages of life. Music is an important tool that helps children to create these brain connections, which are known as neural connections. The benefits of music in children are as follows:

  • Babies who listen to music and sounds can babble (early language development in a baby by making meaningless sounds and mimicking music easily. This helps toddlers to improve their vocabulary. Listening to music in early childhood helps in developing neural pathways required for speaking and listening.

  • Music can increase the overall intelligence quotient (IQ) of a child. Studies have shown that children who learned to play musical instruments with consistent practice for one year or more have shown an increased IQ than normal children.

  • Learning music or how to play musical instruments requires a lot of patience. Hence children who learn music and musical instruments in their childhood develop perseverance and patience in their later stages of life.

  • When a child is exposed to a different type of music, more pathways are formed between the cells inside the brain. The connections between the brain cells increase when music is linked to other activities like dancing.

  • Listening to music helps to create joy and excitement in children. Music helps create positivity in children by uplifting their moods and preventing sadness and illness.

  • Learning music or musical instruments requires the child to listen carefully to the instructions given by the music teacher, rhythm, and pitch. This helps to improve concentration in children.

  • Children who study music at a younger age are more emotionally developed and better at dealing with anxiety. The act of learning music and encouragement from teachers and parents helps to build confidence and higher self-esteem in children. Children become more creative and learn good communication skills.

  • Just as parents calm down their babies with lullabies or songs, music can act as a mood lifter.

  • Music has been used as a complementary therapy along with medicines. Research has shown that certain types of music can relax a patient by reducing heart rates and blood pressure.

  • Playing a musical instrument makes the brain of a child work at an advanced speed. Reading musical notes is converted to the physical motion of an instrument playing inside the brain. Children who play musical instruments have better hand-eye coordination than other children.

How Does Music Help in the Cognitive Development of a Child?

The different forms of cognitive development caused due to music in children are as follows:

  • Listening to music improves auditory memory, pitch discrimination, and selective attention, thereby engaging the scattered network of brain structures.

  • Learning music helps to maintain a stimulus in the brain of children that allows them to relate one element of the musical note in the sequence to another.

  • Information provided through music to a child conveys meaning through emotional connections and associative memories, thereby developing brain activity.

  • Studies have shown that the brains of persons who are highly trained in music show increased plasticity. The plasticity of the brain is the capability of the nervous system to transform its activities based on various stimuli by rebuilding its structure, connections, and functions.

  • The brain of a person who is trained in music shows many structural differences. One of the striking structural changes seen in the brain is the increased volume of gray matter. Grey matter is the brain's outer layer that plays a vital role in retaining memories, controlling movements, and regulating emotions. Exposing the child to music in early childhood plays a significant role in improving brain activity since the gray matter of the brain continues to develop until the age of eight.

  • The brain of the children who are trained in playing musical instruments shows functional and structural variations in the regions that are associated with skills achieved during musical instrument training. These skills include refined auditory discrimination and motor skills of hands. Motor skill is the ability of a person to perform a task through the combined effort of muscles and the nervous system.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain of a person who is trained in music shows increased connectivity of the multi-sensory and motor areas of the brain. The motor area of the brain is the region involved in planning and executing voluntary movements. The multi-sensory area is the region of the brain involved in touch, smell, taste, hearing, and sight. Research shows that the brains of persons trained in music perform any given task in harmony with motor and multi-sensory areas of the brain.


Exposing children to music at an early age helps them to build self-esteem and improve their learning skills. Music also helps children to stay active and not get addicted to devices like televisions and mobile phones. Music facilitates brain development and improves reading skills in children. Music has even shown efficiency as a therapeutic method in combination with other treatment methods. Hence music training in children should be encouraged by parents at a very early age to attain numerous benefits like concentration, vocabulary development, and problem-solving skills.

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20 Feb 2023  -  4 min read




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