The link between music and the development of children has been well-documented. Just recently, one MIT-backed study found that learning piano helped to improve language skills in kindergarten kids.
In addition to learning to play instruments, the practice of songwriting has also proved to be good for kids. Not only can writing songs help prepare them for a possible career in music, learning to write song lyrics can also help children develop their personalities as they grow up.
Here are 5 of the ways songwriting helps with child development.
Dealing with stress
Yes, children get stressed out too. Many deal with stress by “acting out” while others become withdrawn. Listening to music is one way children, especially adolescents, deal with stress in their lives. But songwriting, whether alone or in groups, has been found to be helpful in allowing children to not only get over stressful – and even traumatic – experiences, it allows them to put whatever is causing the distress into context and into meaningful words.
While creativity exists in different forms, being creative is not always encouraged. In one Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, it is pointed out that the current methods of early education delivery tend to stifle creativity in kids, which gets worse as they grow older. However, songwriting, through its ability to invoke the imagination, can help foster creativity in children due to the fact that it doesn’t necessarily follow a set of routine rules as with other subject areas. Being able to use the imagination may be more helpful in unlocking creativity, as described in this article about childhood and music by Rae Pica, an education consultant.
Learning difficult subjects
Research shows that more teachers are turning to music to help teach various subjects in class. In fact, one poll found that 92% of elementary school teachers in America wanted to use more music in their classes. And for good reason. Music has been found to assist with the teaching of subjects that many students find challenging, including the sciences. Author and educator, Eric Jensen, makes the case for music in learning in several of his writings, noting the ability of music to carry a message and its emotional impact. One study involving Dr. James Catterall, a UCLA professor, even found that involvement in music and theater by students strongly correlated with success in math and reading. Music here includes everything from learning to play an instrument, listening to songs, or writing lyrics.
Feeling good about self is highly important to growing children, especially as they try to find their identity in the world. As you can probably imagine, the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a song, and even sharing it with others, naturally gives a sense of achievement. The ability to express themselves and explore their own thoughts are also beneficial to a child’s self-esteem, especially during the teen years. A 2009 study by O’Callaghan & Grocke says that songwriting facilitates self-expression and identity formation, as well as helping to develop coping skills and enabling interpersonal communication.
Although it has been mentioned already, self-expression as a benefit of songwriting needs its own paragraph. Being able to express self is a major part of growing up, yet it is something that many children struggle with. Songwriting, like poetry, allows children to get their thoughts out on paper, a process that might help them say what’s on their minds more clearly than trying to talk about it. In a Huff Post article, author of Radio Head, Rebecca Laclair, even suggests songwriting as a way for parents to help their kids work through stuff they might be facing by rewriting troubling lyrics from songs they might like – except with a positive twist.
It’s a proven fact that music on a whole is good for the developmental stages of a child and most are interested in one or more areas of music. As it relates to songwriting, while some children might not be confident in their abilities to create lyrics, introducing them to songwriting techniques and aids could help with that.
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