Music plays a vital role in brain development before and after birth; now, we have scientific research to prove it. Neuroplasticity shows how adaptable the brain is, especially during the ‘critical period’, the first stage of brain development from birth to early childhood. Through simple exposure, the brain acts as a sponge absorbing new information and builds new neuronal circuits that become hard-wired. This is why multiple languages are so easy for young children to acquire. The brain learns what it hears and creates a brain map. Voila! Even once the ‘critical period’ is over, we know that the brain immediately starts creating new neural pathways as soon as we start learning something new or tackle new challenges regularly.
MEDIA AND MUSIC DURING PREGNANCY
Therefore, what we allow into our environment becomes increasingly important during pregnancy and after birth. Just putting good quality food and water into our systems isn’t enough. Is your home relaxed and peaceful? Where do you like to hang out? What news, social media, and movies do you watch? Are your conversations with yourself and friends positive and life-affirming or negative and critical? We ingest violent movies, sexually implicit songs, stressful workloads, over-stimulation, lack of connection to nature, etc.
Everything in our environment is continually feeding information to our sensory system. This affects every single cell in our biology. If you watch a scary movie, your heart rate increases, adrenaline is triggered, and the body is alert, looking for danger. Think about it. If we are pregnant, our unborn child also receives these signals, and the brain is mapping out what it absorbs.
THE BRAIN RECORDS EVERYTHING
For example, the other day, Dad started singing a song from the forties I hadn’t heard since early childhood. I easily recalled the words and sang along. Mum was pregnant with me when she, my father and ten others founded the Spotlight Theatre Company in Southport. My parents, Margaret and Rex Williamson were the local stars for many years.
Mum’s grandfather and his three sons were the founding force behind the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper. Between the aunties, uncles and cousins, they gained a lot of advertising press with family and community involvement in theatrical productions.
Mum’s performances were hampered by having three kids under the age of 4, so Dad took the limelight! When my father was transferred through the bank to Gympie in the mid-sixties, he became the local star of that town, too! He was continually singing at home, rehearsing for whatever production he was in. Many social occasions ended up with everyone congregating around the pianola enthusiastically belting out all sorts of tunes, usually with ‘My Way’ and ‘High Noon’ in there somewhere! It simply was the natural thing to do back then.
LIMITING BELIEFS DEVELOP VERY YOUNG
However, this was also an age of intense criticism and judgment. I grew up taking on beliefs that I had to be perfect to be worthy and loved and that I wasn’t good enough. Perceiving life through these filters sabotaged my creativity and filled me with self-doubt.
I worried about my appearance and whether I was smart enough, which hindered my schoolwork. My personality shaped itself around my negative beliefs. My parents had no clue about my many internal struggles. I was just labelled “a moody child”. Naturally, there is a lot more to this story, but I want to focus on what I believe will help make your children and you more confident, capable, creative and happy.
SINGING IN OUR YOUTH DEVELOPS AUDITORY RECALL
I have a highly developed auditory recall. It only takes a few listens of a new song, and I quickly learn the lyrics and melody. I have always had a natural ability with rhythm, and I find it easy to sing in pitch. I didn’t have a good ear for singing harmonies because I rarely heard any being sung around the house. I have no doubt that these skills were hard-wired in me as a baby. I have had to strengthen my voice for performing, facilitating, and refining my ear to hear and sing harmonies, but a strong foundation was formed in my early years for me to build upon. The criticism and judgment caused a myriad of unhealthy beliefs, which were also hard-wired and have taken considerable effort to transform.
MUSIC FOR KIDS AND THE WHOLE FAMILY
Our current challenge for raising happy, healthy kids is to strike a balance between our electronic world and our natural world. We must create a nurturing, accepting, creative, joyful, educational and fun space where our children can build self-awareness, express themselves freely and expand their creative imagination.
This is where positive music has the power to transform. Sing to Thrive songs are designed to entertain, develop musical aptitude, trigger curiosity about the world and ignite the imagination. Life-affirming words build self-esteem and self-confidence, stimulating both hemispheres of the brain and improving learning, language, focus and memory.
HOW TO EASILY INTRODUCE MORE MUSIC IN THE HOME
So, let’s play for a moment. You may spend a lot of time in the car, chauffeuring the kids to their daily activities, and you want some electronic device free time. Singing or just playing upbeat music in the background lifts their mood, builds a positive mindset, develops rhythm and musical aptitude and builds bonds. If you encourage singing along with the different parts of songs, this improves their singing skills. Many kids want to be great singers, so this is a way to motivate them to free their voices in a safe and non-judgmental space. This helps with self-confidence, learning difficulties and behavioural problems.
Let’s take a look at some of the side effects of this style of empowering entertainment:
- Deep inner happiness
- A growing sense of self-awareness
- Well-developed cognitive skills – learning, memory, language and overall literacy
- Infant-directed singing can be as effective as book reading or toy playing in developing attention and focus.
- Emotional intelligence
- A creative imagination
- Musical aptitude – pitch, rhythm, timing and auditory recall
- Good singing habits through somatic body awareness tips and techniques
- Lifelong bonds with a loving heart connection between you and your children
- Healthy immune system
- Increased lung capacity
- Good posture
- A mood-booster
- An immediate tool for stress relief
- Helpful for sleep
- A distraction from any mundane or negative thoughts and emotions
- Positive lyrics create new neuronal circuits in the brain, enhancing a positive mindset
- A happy heart
- Refining skills to be a conscious creator…..Wooooohooooo!
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR PARENTS RAISING CONFIDENT KIDS
The brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real or imaginary. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to feed the next generation of babies and children with positive, uplifting and intelligent messages that create awareness of self and the world around us.
You can play a HUGE ROLE in determining whether your child will feel safe, loved and curious about themselves and their external world or unsafe, unworthy and fearful about themselves and the world.
Music shapes the way we think and how we view the world. Positive messages become your new default setting. The power of loving words carries an intense frequency that affects our biology by literally charging up the voltage in our cells.
Head to FREE RESOURCES on our website, www.singtothrive.com and download MUSIC ACTIVITIES AND STRATEGIES TO HELP YOUR KDIS THRIVE. Whether you are a new parent or have teenagers creating beautiful chaos, we have something for you.
Founder and Creator of Sing to Thrive