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Why is Music Important in Early Childhood Education?

preschool music education

Music enhances all areas of children’s development including school readiness, academic performance, language development, social/emotional development, gross and fine motor development and phonological awareness.

Research: Musical Experiences Enhance Childrens Development 

The University of Southern California conducted a study in 2016 and concluded that early music education enhances brain development in the areas of language and reading. 

Children Are Attracted To Music From Infancy Onward

In my three decades as an early childhood music educator I have had the privilege to work with thousands of children of all ages. I have seen how infants respond to rhythmic music by bouncing and moving long before they are able to understand the words of a song. 

Toddlers become entranced by interactive music activities when teachers model movement along with the music. 

Preschoolers enjoy moving and dancing with interactive music as well as playing hand percussion instruments like shakers, bells, scrapers, triangles and drums. They can begin to learn to read and play music notes using specialized materials such as Rhythm Sound Cards. 

preschool music kids

Nothing Engages Children Like Lively, Interactive Music and Movement Activities

Children need to move. The boundless energy of young children is something that many adults find amazing. When children arrive at chool at the beginning of the day they are likely bringing with them a vast amount of energy that needs to have an outlet. Many teachers find that their students are better able to focus once they have been given the chance to move and dance in creative ways and thus expend much of the excess energy that they have been carrying.  

No Better Tool for Children’s Learning Than Interactive Music and Movement 

Children retain information and language when it is presented in the context of interactive music and movement activities more than in any other medium. 

Imagine a group of young children sitting passively while an adult recites or lectures to them. What do you think the level of retention will be for most of those children? Now imagine the same group of children dancing, singing and moving in creative ways to songs and activities that present the same information. It’s easy to conclude that the level of retention will be much higher for the children involved in the music activities because they are experiencing the subject matter on a more visceral level and so will incorporate it into their consciousness in a much more profound way. 

preschool music education

Choosing the Right Music Curriculum 

There is no shortage of music intended for early childhood classrooms. Much of it is very low quality or lacks the vital interactive element. Music is not for children to listen to while sitting passively. There are many ways that children may interactive with music. Some songs are great for children sitting and singing while making hand gestures that coordinate with the music. Other activities involve the children moving their bodies like various animals or modes of transportation. We call they Imaginative Movement. Still other songs will direct them to move their bodies in various ways like tapping feet, wiggling shoulder, hopping and stomping.


Nick Young

Nick Young has been an early childhood music educator for 25 years and is the creator of PlayMotion Music©. PlayMotion Music is an interactive music and movement program that gives teachers the ability to lead enriching and engaging music and movement groups with their students.