Socializing Through Music

Mar 6, 2024

Over the years, we have spent much time discussing the benefits that music can bring to our lives. We’ve talked about the physical changes that go on in the brain and how learning to play in a group can help teach teamwork. Music allows us to work towards a common goal as a group, in much the same way that sports teach the same lessons. Now, in the aftermath of a global pandemic that severely limited in-person interactions, socializing through music is more important than ever!

The effects of the pandemic were significant, and we’re only starting to see some of them now. One such area is the social skills of children and teens. According to Kelly Smith, RN and integrative behavioural health nurse and founder of Movement Matters, “The routines of families were disrupted, there was added stress in many homes, teachers and students were impacted by limited resources and long days in front of screens, not to mention the abundance of fear,” she explained. “All these things can and have likely contributed to the regulation and communication challenges many children appear to be struggling with at this time.”

Here’s how much can help.

Socializing Through Music


First and foremost, music has the power to connect kids through something they have something in common. Look back on your school days. You’ll likely remember them dominated by a particular group of friends with similar interests. While that is normal, introducing your child to the world of music can help them form a new friendship they might not have ever had the chance to create. Socializing through music helps them branch out and be more well-rounded.

Another way music helps with the development of social skills is the way children respond to it. The next time your kids have friends over, try playing music they like and see what happens! With music playing, kids tend to move closer to talk, which helps create a more social space. This kind of group music encourages them to express themselves physically by moving or dancing.


For most of human history, the only way you could experience music was live; recordings are still a relatively new development. For all that time, music involved contact with others. It provided a physical and mental safety net that may have helped our earliest ancestors survive. Today, although most music is listened to privately, making music still involves a lot of coordination. According to studies, when people synch up with others musically, they experience positive feelings toward those they play with. This effect is so powerful it happens even if they can’t see who they are playing with.

We’re not sure why this happens, but from an early age, coordinating our movements with another person is linked to releasing pleasure neurotransmitters. That means good and happy feelings.

Playing music in a band, singing in a choir, or even listening to music and singing along as a group all involve cooperation. Introducing this to children at an early age helps kids experience and learn from this cooperation early.


Music activates the area of the brain that gives us insight into what others are thinking and feeling to predict how they might behave. This essential social skill, often called the “theory of mind,” is closely linked to empathy.

In one study, researchers asked participants to listen to music inside an fMRI machine. Some participants were told the piece they heard was composed by a person; others were told a computer wrote it. In fact, they were both played the same piece, written by a person. When participants thought they were listening to music written by a human, their “theory of mind” network lit up. But it didn’t when they thought a computer created the music. This implies that your brain doesn’t just process the sound of music when you hear it; it tries to find the meaning the composer is trying to communicate.

More recently, a study was performed with primary-school-aged children. They were encouraged to play musical games with other children for one hour every week for a school year. The experiment also used two control groups: one that played no games and one that did but without music.

The researchers found that the children who played musical games had significantly increased empathy scores over the control groups that did not play musical games. This suggests that music significantly impacts empathy and is critical to childhood development.


Participating in music – whether by dancing, singing, studying, or playing an instrument – helps give kids a stronger sense of self-confidence. They can then carry that confidence into other social situations and interpersonal relationships, including the one they have with you, their parent.

Kids and parents can even relate to each other better through music. Music creates a calming, relaxed atmosphere for shared activities and open lines of communication.

And lastly, for parents with toddlers, you don’t have to wait until they’re old enough to tell you what they like: babies respond to music too! This might be why parents instinctively sing to their infants. Singing to your baby creates communication between you and them. This helps build the foundation for effective spoken communication later in life.

Final Thoughts

Music can help children (and all of us!) feel connected to each other and the greater world, especially now. The more music is used to unite people – symbolically, figuratively, and literally – the more potential exists for improved empathy, social connections, and cooperation.

While these skills are essential for all to thrive in society, childhood and adolescence are the critical time when these skills develop, deepen, and take hold. Introducing music early can significantly impact how children and teens socialize and interact with others.

Hoping to help sharpen your child or teen’s social skills through music? The Music Studio has programs for all ages and skill levels, including programs for small children and seniors! Check out everything we have to offer!