Singing and music can be incredibly useful tools when it comes to helping a child with their speech and language development. Find out how here.
Music is a common part of childhood learning, from nursery rhymes to nonsense songs. We often teach our children little songs or rhythms as mnemonic devices, to help them remember how to spell a word or tie their shoelaces. And, of course, it tends to make any activity that little bit more fun!
However, music and singing are also excellent ways to help with a child’s speech development. Studies show that a range of musical therapies can help children who are late developers, and accelerate the development of others. Here are just some of the ways that music can help your child improve their speaking and language:
Everyday speech has rhythm and cadence to it, but this can be difficult to pick up on; most of us don’t even think about it any more. Singing can help children get their heads around this rhythm, as everything is slowed down and simplified. It acts like structured practice speech, giving them a chance to develop the sounds they need in order to speak.
Distinguishing between sounds
Speaking of sounds, both listening to music and performing it requires children to pick out specific sounds and identify notes. They’ll need to work out tempo and rhythm, and understand when to come in and when to stay quiet. This is also excellent practice for speech, where picking out different sounds is essential.
This might sound complicated, but it’s actually just the ability to put words and sounds in the correct order. This is something that can be practiced by singing, where remembering lyrics – even simple ones – provides children with the opportunity to develop their auditory sequencing in a fun environment.
To make sure a child understands something, repetition can be a useful tool. This is especially true for speech, which requires children to repeat sounds in order to move their mouths and tongue correctly. Music allows for this in an enjoyable manner, as songs typically contain many repeated words or phrases for your child to get their head around.
Call and response
Conversation requires an element of call and response, which children can have trouble with, speaking whenever they feel like it. Singing can be used to make a game out of practicing this important element of talking, using call and response songs to mimic a conversation while ensuring your child enjoys themself.
Rhythm, tempo, verse, chorus; these are all words with which your child might not be familiar. Music lessons will expand their vocabulary by introducing them to new technical terms like this, but also by using songs to show them a whole variety of new words and phrases that they might not otherwise come across in their day-to-day life.
Listening and attention
Finally, listening to music requires just that: listening. Children will need to pay attention to songs and lyrics in order to learn them, which will help them become more attentive to what other people are saying. This is a crucial element of communication, and will help them better understand what is being said to them.
If you are interested in learning more about music therapy for your child, Chatter-Bug offers our own speech and music therapy sessions – Chat n Bop! The sessions run is 6 weeks blocks and open to range of abilities. To find out more, get in touch with our team or follow us on Facebook!