I have been happy to learn about the relatively new study of Music Neuroscience which studies, among other things, how music impacts the development of the brain in young children. Music Neuroscience is a growing field which began around 2000 and it has produced some wonderful studies about how the brain actually changes when a child listens to music or learns to play an instrument Singing and playing music improve the reading and language skills for children and develop eye-hand coordination as they learn to play an instrument. Dancing to the music boosts performance confidence and social skills and is good exercise for the body. Children come into the world loving to move and my children were rocking to the music in their high chairs before they could even walk.
Listening to music from around the world promotes communication and understanding and social interaction between people of different cultures. A child may not be able to communicate with another child who does not speak the same language verbally but they can both beat a rhythm on a drum or dance to the rhythm together and form communication keys that way. From early ages, many of our children's songs actually come from other countries and many stories of a people are passed down through music. Listening to the rhythm and moving to it is wonderful exercise and a healthy outlet for pent up energy and/or overwhelming feelings.
I have studied Expressive Arts Therapy where we learned how music and art can reach into the depth of a nonverbal or damaged child who quite often cannot adequately speak about his or her feelings but who can express them through music or art. It can open up unexpressed feelings and reach a child when nothing else can.
There is a tendency today to cut out music and the arts from the school curriculum, but it has been proven that the arts and music actually enhance a child's concentration in other areas of schoolwork. As budgets are getting tighter, we need to lobby to maintain the creative arts for the sake of our children's best development, both academically and emotionally.