What does music do to children's brains?

Everyone remembers it: in primary school there were teachers who played a musical instrument and we had music lessons in the classroom. In high school we learned to play the recorder and read music. However, this has been in a downward trend in recent years. The music lesson must make way for cognitive subjects such as extra language and arithmetic. However, American brain researchers are concerned about this. They believe this could affect our academic performance in the long run. Science journalist Mark Mieras has summarized the scientific research in a readable file.

Research has taught us that music promotes the development of certain skills such as listening and reading, as well as emotional intelligence. Music can make people happy, it connects them and it stimulates creativity. In order to offer all young people the same opportunities and opportunities for music, it is necessary that they are taught this subject in school. In addition, parents can also help with this by making music with their children or singing songs for them from an early age.

Babies and toddlers

Babies can hear from as early as the fifth month in the womb. The mother's voice is best heard by them and the unborn baby can already recognize its mother's voice. By singing to the baby, the first steps of a musical training are taken in the brain.

Listening to music helps babies and toddlers to recognize words. They learn to distinguish sounds and words. This also benefits learning to speak. Because songs often contain the same sentences and sometimes rhymes are used, it is easier for small children to remember words.

In addition, music also helps children's motor skills. They try to make sounds by hitting things, they move to music, they clap,… This all benefits their motor skills.

Mozart for children

In 1993, researchers in California found that subjects scored better on an IQ test just after listening to Mozart. Because of this discovery, many parents in America let their babies listen to Mozart in order to increase the baby's IQ. However, a long-term effect has never been proven. It is clear that all kinds of things happen in the brain through musical training, but scientists do not yet know exactly what the connection is between music and the brain's reactions.


However, research shows that children who receive musical training are better listeners. Not in the sense of “obeying”, but in the sense of processing information. Listening is therefore a very important factor in learning and understanding. In addition, children who can listen well are less bothered by background noise in the classroom because they can filter it better. Musical training therefore ensures that you can better absorb important information and filter out noise.

Emotional intelligence

Research has also shown that musically trained people can extract much more emotion from the sound of their voices. The earlier the musical training started, the higher the emotional intelligence of that person. It is said that they are better able to sense people's emotions.


There could also be improvement for children with dyslexia. Being a good listener is very important for learning to read well. Part of the cause of dyslexia is that the brainstem processes the sounds of letters less well. Linking letters and sounds can therefore be very difficult. A musical training of only six months could already have a positive influence on this.


A musically trained brain ensures that people are better able to maintain their attention, solve problems better and process information better. Music has so many positive aspects. Listen to music, make music yourself, enjoy and learn!

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