A recent study by Cambridge University has suggested that children who regularly play music in a group have improved empathy skills and are better able to recognise other people’s emotions. The benefits of music on children’s development have been looked at many, many times, but usually these tend to look at the effects on intelligence or motor skills.
This study was carried out on children ages 8 to 11, who were split into three groups. The group who registered the highest improvement in their abilities to empathise were tasked with playing a variety of music-based games once a week. They often had to copy each other’s movements, imitate musical phrases or make synchronised music together.
The second group only played the games without the addition of music while the third did no group activities. After a year, all groups were tested and it was the musical group who performed much better than the other two. While the researchers involved have said that the tests are not conclusive proof, they do appear to show a link.
The researchers then went on to recommend that schools hold music-group sessions, but you can do something similar at home. Pots and pans are a tried and tested alternative to drums, so why not set a rhythm then get your kids to copy you in time with each other? You could even make shakers using old crisp tubes and rice. Why not get your arts and crafts supplies out to decorate them, or even hold a music-making party?
Whether your kids are musical or not, what do you think of this interesting study? Or, do you have some useful tips for other parents for easy ways to make music at home? Be sure to share your stories and chat to us! You can leave a comment below or chat to us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.