When you hear music, how do you feel? Some music gets you excited and gives you energy, while other music can soothe and relax you. Music can also make you become more focused on being mindful. Music plays an important role in mindfulness whether we’re listening to it or learning how to play it.
At Rock and Roll Daycare, we do a lot of both every day at our East Cambridge center and our other locations. Children listen to music and rhythms as well as learn to play instruments. We’re going to take a closer look at mindfulness and how music can help your children become more mindful.
What is Mindfulness?
Before we can look at how music impacts mindfulness, we need to understand what mindfulness is. When you’re mindful, you’re paying full attention to what you’re doing and not getting distracted by anything around you. That can sound pretty impossible on some days when there is so much going on that it’s hard to concentrate. That can also seem somewhat impossible for children who may have a hard time focusing. But, with the power of music, it’s possible!
Building Mindfulness Through Music
The effects of mindfulness through music can be seen in all ages, even in young babies. The American Psychological Association has reported on a study involving premature babies and live music therapy. The study showed that when live music was present, the infants’ heart rates decreased. Sucking behaviors also improved and parents even reported feeling less stressed.
Beyond that, when children or adults are learning music, they are building on their mindfulness skills, many perhaps, without even realizing it. Here’s how music helps with mindfulness:
If you’ve ever tried to learn an instrument or watched your children learn, you know that there is deep concentration involved. There’s no room for distraction. You need to focus on the instrument and the notes in the music.
Learning an instrument requires awareness of how your hands and body move with the instrument. When you’re aware of how your body is moving, you’re being mindful. Children and adults learn how to recognize how their body moves to create music on their instrument.
Awareness of Mistakes
When we’re learning a musical instrument, we’re going to make mistakes, there’s just no getting around it. But, when we’re aware of these mistakes, we’re also learning to be mindful. We can learn how to fix these mistakes and how to become better musicians.
Getting in Tune with Feelings
Learning music and listening to music can make us more in tune with our feelings. Even children can see how different music makes them feel. Besides the sound and rhythms, learning a new instrument can also help children realize feelings of success.
When they’re learning an instrument and begin to understand something that they had trouble with, they can also become aware of how it feels to accomplish something. This can help them to become more mindful as they reach other milestones and accomplish new things.
How many times do we just forget things because we have so much on our minds? When you’re learning music, you have to pay attention as well as remember the different aspects of the instrument and music. This is something people of all ages can benefit from.
A Stanford study showed that music engages parts of the brain that are involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating events in our memory. As we learn to pay attention closer to things in our lives, we are also learning how to become more mindful.
The Bottom Line
Learning music and listening to music encourages mindfulness because it teaches children and adults how to focus. They also learn how to be more aware of how their bodies are moving to learn their instruments. Learning music also helps people to get in tune with their feelings and how to pay attention to the task at hand.
At Rock and Roll Daycare in East Cambridge, we are constantly looking at ways to incorporate mindfulness into our curriculum. Children are always being exposed to music and encouraged to try new instruments. These activities are aimed at teaching children how to become more mindful while appreciating music.
We also use the Montessori Method which also encourages children to become one with their thoughts and be peaceful. Children learn how to be mindful while expressing themselves through music and other creative outlets.
We want to know, have you or your children learned how to play a musical instrument? If so, have you found that it helps you to be more mindful? Share your experiences in the comment section below.