Guest Blog: Early Years Music Making To Support Communication by Boogie Mites

Boogie Mites have released a report that reviews the scientific evidence around the benefits of active music making in the Early Years for developing optimal listening, language, literacy skills and to look at how we as Early Years Practitioners can harness these benefits in our everyday practice, so as to boost the all important skill of communication.

For references to the scientific studies behind this blog and more detail about the 3 areas of active music making, download the full report here.

1.The Science:

Early Years Active Music Making Supports Brain Development

The brain is developing at a very fast rate in the early years. The rate of growth is determined by both genetics and environmental stimuli. An environment that promotes optimal brain development, is one in which all the senses are stimulated.

Music: A Whole Brain Experience

More than virtually any activity, active music making – music making that involves seeing, hearing, touching, moving – engages all of our senses providing one of the richest learning environments that there is.

Music and IQ

Scientists have discovered that music learning boosts the verbal IQ of developmentally healthy children in early years.

Music and Language Skills  

Studies have shown that language and music abilities lie largely on the same overlapping neural networks. During the early years a child’s musical and linguistic development are indistinguishable from one another. What’s more, children develop music abilities before linguistic abilities so music can be used as a tool for boosting language development in the early years.

Several studies show that music making improves semantics (understanding of language) as well as syntax (structure, grammar).

Music, Phonics and Reading

Phonological awareness is a key school ready skill needed for accessing learning from age 5 upwards and is vital for developing strong reading skills. Reading and spelling skills of children in the first few years of school can be predicted with high accuracy from the level of phonological awareness a child has when starting school.

The 3 aspects that make up phonological awareness are:

  1. Awareness of syllables
  2. Awareness of onset rhyme
  3. Phoneme awareness

Music making boosts the processing of speech syllables at the neural level, therefore giving music learners a brain advantage in the syllable area of phonological awareness.  Onset rhyme awareness is found to develop as a by-product of phoneme awareness. Music making by definition consists of developing a higher awareness of sounds, this translates to sounds in speech (phoneme sounds), phoneme awareness. This shows that involvement in early years music making is a key factor for early success at reading.

Active music making can also boost social, emotional, physical, creative and maths skills. This is explored further in our Practitioners Guide that can be downloaded from the Boogie Mites website.

2. Putting  The Science Into Practice

Increasing High Quality Active Music Making

However, despite this scientific evidence, studies suggest that music provision has actually declined in our Early Years settings over the past 10 years. So how can we increase high quality music provision?

Active Music Making – Three Areas

The 3 most important areas that should be practised in early years to prepare the brain for strong communication skills and school readiness are:

  1. Feeling The Beat – Rhythmic awareness:
  2. Listening Skills – Melodic awareness
  3. Playing with sounds – Musical games developed for purpose

3. You Can Do It

You do not have to be a highly qualified musician to support children in early years with these hugely beneficial, brain boosting musical activities every day.  Anyone can lead effective early years active music making activities and make them a daily part of practice.

Getting Started – Know How, Confidence and Resources

Mostly what holds us back from extending our music practice is one of 3 factors:  a lack of confidence, a lack of knowledge and a lack of resources.

This is where Boogie Mites can help: we have spent 10 years developing inspirational, effective and easy-to-use early years active music making resources so that you don’t have to.

The recent Chichester University Study found that Boogie Mites Music Programmes impact positively on practitioners and parents engagement, knowledge, understanding and practice. You can read a summary or the full report here

I CAN recognise the beneficial impact of Boogie Mites style active music making for the development of strong communication skills. Together we are aiming to reach parents and settings who are keen to support their children’s communication skills with a range of music resources available now on the I CAN shop.

Transform your music making activities, support your children’s communication development, ensure they have the foundations for literacy to enable them to access learning when they get to school – the added bonus is that it’s great fun!

If you have any questions, please get in touch: