It has been shown that music and communication are closely linked and there are many skills that are common to both. Research shows that exposure to music from an early age is beneficial for communication development both in terms of spoken language and literacy skills.
In particular, music plays an important role in early communication. Almost all parents sing to their children from the day they are born. Most of us will be able to name at least one song our parents sang to us as a child.
Here are some of the communication skills we learn through singing or being sung to as children:
1. Concentration– singing is very engaging and makes it easy to pay attention for long periods of time.
2. Anticipation– music and songs lead the brain to expect or look for the next notes in the melody. Songs often have a predictable, repeating pattern of words and/or actions which makes it easy for us to learn to anticipate what’s coming next as well as supporting maintenance of concentration.
3. Taking turns in communication by learning to listen and then respond within the song.
4. Using non verbal communication and eye contact – many children’s songs have accompanying actions which encourages the development of watching another person, copying them and co-ordinating gestures with words.
5. Vocabulary development - repetition of words and rhyming.
6. Sentence development – hearing the same sentence structure over and over again is essential for learning to say new and longer sentences.
7. Phonological awareness – awareness of alliteration, rhyme, syllables and rhythms are essential skills for later learning to read and write as it supports the ability to break words down into sounds, work out what those sounds are and put them together again to make new words.
8. Sequencing – Like music, all language follows a sequence whether it’s the order of sounds in words, words in sentences or information in a story.