Music plays an important role in brain development before and after birth, and now we have the scientific research to prove it. Neuroplasticity shows just how adaptable the brain is, especially during the ‘critical period’ being the first stages 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 now know that the brain immediately starts creating new neural pathways as soon as we start learning something new or tackle new challenges with regularity.
Therefore during pregnancy and after birth, it becomes increasingly important what we allow into our environment. Just putting good quality food and water into our systems isn’t going to be enough. Is your home relaxed and peaceful? Where do you like to hang out? What news, social media, and movies do you watch? Are the conversations you have 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 are watching a scary movie, your heart rate increases, adrenaline is triggered, and the body is on full alert, looking out for danger. Think about it. If we are pregnant, our unborn child is also receiving these signals, and the brain is mapping out what it is absorbing.
For example, just the other day, dad started singing a song from the forties that 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. 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 back 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.
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 how I looked, school work, singing, my personality, etc. 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 human beings.
I have a highly developed auditory recall. It only takes a few listens to a new song, and I can learn lyrics and melody very quickly. 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 in my mind these skills were hard-wired in me as a baby. I have had to strengthen my voice for performing and facilitating and refine 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.
Our current challenges for raising happy, healthy kids is to strike a balance between our electronic world and our natural world. It is imperative we create a nurturing, accepting, creative, happy, educational and fun space where our children can build self-awareness, express themselves freely and expand their creative imagination. This is where music has the power to transform. Imagine having songs designed to entertain and develop your musical aptitude that triggers introspection and curiosity about yourself and your world. Catchy contemporary songs with beautiful melodies and exquisite harmonies to captivate and awaken.
So, let’s play for a moment. You have a million things to do but need to keep the kids entertained. You may spend a lot of time in the car, running the kids around to their daily activities, and you want some electronic-device free time. Or your child wants to improve their singing skills, so any opportunity to have music playing that will help is ideal. Maybe your cherubs are struggling with self-confidence, learning difficulties and behavioural problems. What if you could play songs, even if it’s just in the background, that will help build a positive mindset, develop your musical ear and uplift a bad mood, which by the way, shuts down the brains activity, and we stop listening?
Let’s take a look at some of the side-effects of this style of empowering entertainment:
- A burst open joy-valve
- A growing sense of self-awareness
- Well-developed cognitive skills – learning, memory, language and overall literacy
- Infant-directed singing can be just as effective as book reading or toy playing in developing infant 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 that create new neuronal circuits in the brain enhancing a positive mindset
- A happy heart
- The preliminary skills to become a conscious creator…..Wooooohooooo!
One of the most important things parents of kids at any age need to understand is this:
The brain does not 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, intelligent messages that create an awareness of self and the world around us. You can literally 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 their external world.
And the bonuses don’t stop there. Even if you are not a singer, just by listening to optimistic songs, your brain will start creating new maps. After a period of time, these positive messages become your new default setting. The power of loving words carries a strong frequency that affects our biology by literally charging up the voltage in our cells.
Another great advantage is our ability to imagine things that influence what we create. Singing about nature helps to evoke imagination. The power of the imagination is linked with the law of attraction. If you can imagine it, you can alter your vibration to match that frequency and become the magnet for that same frequency. The key is to FEEL it. Singing triggers the production of feel-good chemicals and helps us to feel happy. It’s a perfect marriage. Singing with positive affirmations will set you and your children to become more confident, optimistic and healthier human beings.
To find out more, check out the Family page on our website www.singtothrive.com. Whether you are a new parent or have teenagers creating beautiful chaos, we have something for you.
March 16, 2021