How Music Helps Language Development

Aug 31, 2022

They say music is the language of the soul. And while that may be true, the connection between music and language is actually much deeper than that. In fact, according to the experts, music plays a major role in improving the learning process. That’s why music is often used in the classroom as a learning aid. But did you know that this can be especially true when it comes to learning language? The truth is, music has deep connections to language development because sound, and how the brain processes it, play a vital role in both.

Sounds and Language

The first thing newborn babies experience and recognize in their surroundings is sound. It may take them a few years to start speaking, but what they eventually say is based on all the sounds they’ve experienced since birth.

According to Rice University’s professor of theory and music composition, Anthony Brandt, newborns are able to “dissect” the aspects of sound, including pitch, timbre, and rhythm. That means that if they are exposed to sounds like music from an early age, they can effectively learn the art of language.

Language Development and Music

In the research paper, Music and Early Language Acquisition, the researcher argue that spoken language is a type of music. From this concept, the try to prove that music has a profound impact on language development. In essence, their argument is that babies learn to speak effectively when they are exposed to and comprehend music early.

Now, beyond theories and hypotheses, papers have been published that focus on this relationship between music and language development. And they all offer the same results. In fact, it’s even been found that children as young as five year old who attend piano lessons have improved speech perception.

Teaching Language Through Music

When it comes to language, most of the nuts and bolts are taught in school. It’s true that the early stages of language development starts at home, but it’s only in school where children learn proper form and more sophisticated language begins to take shape. However, for far too many children, this traditional language teaching method falls short.

For that reason, many teachers are now turning to music to help them. Here’s how.

Reading Comprehension

No one can dispute that reading is an important part of language development. One of the key reasons for this is that it gives children even more exposure to language, and as a result, their skills can improve.

Music, surprisingly, has been linked to stronger reading comprehension skills. Several studies have shown that the rhythms in music are basically the same as those in speech and language. Thus, education in music helps students further improve their reading comprehension skills.

Recognizing Verbal Cues

Verbal cues are a fundamental element of language. We all use them every day! What’s more, it appears all languages are basically the same when it comes to these verbal cues. It turns out, these prompts and cues are effectively conveyed in every language, and indeed, every form of communication.

According to researchers, the area of the brain that is responsible for language skills, and recognizing these verbal cues, is closely connected to the part of the brain that processes music comprehension.

In music, these cues are easily identified. And thanks to the close connection between these parts of the brain, music can help children strengthen their ability to recognize cues in speech.

Vocabulary and Repetitive Patterns

Another key element of language development is vocabulary. Expanding a child’s vocabulary can be done in many ways. That said, music has been found to be an effective way for kids to learn new words and expand their vocabulary knowledge.

Each new song they’re exposed to is a creative output for the artists. And every tack offers new words for children to learn and add to their vocabulary. Additionally, the more they’re exposed to new music, the better the chance they have of learning new words. Furthermore, the repetitive nature of music has been shown to help children individualize each word, and them memorize them.

How Sounds Go Together

When you break it down, language is really just all about putting sounds together. And so is music! That means music can help children learn how the sounds of language go together.

Although simply listening to music can help in this regard, experts agree that the best way is learning to play music! In a study conducted with student participants, it was found that kids that are more musically inclined (many of whom had taken guitar or drum lessons) tended to have better language skills.

Sound and Emotion

Another area where music aids in language development is how sounds are processed for emotion. Neuroscientists suggest that music training helps to enhance sensitivity to speech sounds. In this study, researchers found that musicians are “more effective at utilizing” patterns, both in speech and music. This is thanks to the fact that learning to play an instrument “engages” the student’s ability to “extract” patterns in the much, and thus, in speech.

This is because our sense of hearing is built on all the previous experience we have with sounds. Therefore, those with experience in music are better primed to understand a wider range of sounds, and how they are used in language.

Wrapping Up

This all points to one conclusion: music does, in fact, help language development. Science has proven it! That means the only thing left to do is get your children involved in music! It’s true that just listening to music offers a ton of benefits, even beyond language skills. But if you want your children to truly reap as many benefits as they can, they should start studying music today.

Want to get in on these incredible benefits? It’s never too late! Start your musical journey with the professionals at The Music Studio! We over programs and classes for all ages and all skill levels. Check them all out and give us a call today!