The Benefits of Music Education from Birth

Mish Mash is about giving your child a place to develop their passion for music, to play with confidence and to feel the joy that making music with other people brings to our lives. As well as music giving your child a place to create with others, connection with a group, and the fun of exploring together, we know that preschool music education has been found to have other benefits. There haven’t been a huge number of studies specifically about music for under 5s. People used to think that simply listening to Classical Music would make children more intelligent (this was called the Mozart Effect), but we now know that most of the benefits of learning music come from joining in with making it.DSC_6458

As well as being a musician, I have a postgrad diploma in Special Educational Needs which involved a lot of research, and studied psychology at Cambridge, so for those of you who are scientifically minded, I’ve put my “science head” on, to present a little scientific review of what we know so far… The easiest way to read this is to read the headlines, and if you’d like to find out more about the studies this came from, click on any headline to expand.

There is  lots of evidence that shows learning music in a group  helps increase confidence, improves problem solving, helps develop better relationships between parents and children and lets even the youngest children tap into their creative side.

Music supports  your little ones development in a huge number of ways, and babies can respond to music from their earliest moments.

Babies are born with an innate awareness of music and rhythm. We are musical animals! 

Music  is so meaningful for babies because they’ve been listening to the rhythm of a heartbeat since they could first hear sounds in the womb.

Babies from birth can follow a beat, and notice when a beat changes, in a way that other primates cannot. We are musical animals!



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“Newborn infants detect the beat in music.” By Istvan Winkler, Gabor P. Haden, Olivia Ladinig, Istvan Sziller, and Henkjan Honing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 106, No. 4, Jan. 26, 2009.

Studies have found that babies as young as 6 months can learn new music skills through interactive music sessions, which improve communication skills as well as making them more musical.
Joining in with a real musician is key!



Studies have found that simply listening to music, even in a group situation doesn’t have the same effects on either communication skills or musical skills as joining in with a real musician.

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  David Gerry, Andrea Unrau, Laurel J. Trainor. Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development. Developmental Science, 2012; 15 (3): 398 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01142.x

Music learning  for preschoolers is about being part of a group, watching and joining in.  Music is a social thing! One study of  2-4 year olds found that they were much better able to drum along to a beat when a drum was played by an instructor than when it was played by a machine (Kirschner & Tomasello, 2009)

We know that music helps develop communication skills  in young children!

Parents and babies who went to music groups were better at communicating and had better relationships with each other.

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De Gratzer’s study (1999)

Music sessions provides even very young children with a way to be tap into their artistic side, and gives them the ability to be more expressive and creative before they are able to talk.


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Music sessions provide babies with ability to be more expressive and creative before they are able to talk.  (Barrett 2009)

Music making in a group gives children the gift of  increased confidence.

One of the main benefits reported of playing music as part of a music group was greater musical confidence and creativity in both parents and children.

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In a review of music projects for under 5s, by Youth Music, one of the main benefits reported of playing music as part of a music group was greater musical confidence and creativity in both parents and children.  (Lonie 2010)

There have been some exciting pieces of research which show that music sessions for under 5s help them get better at problem solving




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Studies have found that Preschoolers who take part in music sessions are better at doing puzzles and remembering pattern sequences.._ Bilhartz, Bruhn and Olsen (2000)  and Rausher et al 1997

As they grow up into the preschool years, music becomes even more important as a foundation to early reading skills… Check out

Music education for 3-5 year olds