You may have read the subject of today’s blog and chuckled to yourself. Music is primarily an auditory experience. So, surely music has a role to play in promoting listening skills …
But, what I want to expand on today is not just “listening skills” in its most generic form, but AUDITORY PROCESSING.
What is Auditory Processing and why it is so very important in a child’s development?
What is Auditory Processing?
Auditory Processing is the natural process of taking in sound through the ear and having it travel to the language area of the brain to be interpreted.
In other words, Auditory Processing is “what our brain does with what the ear hears” (Katz).
Why is it so important?
Imagine this scenario … say your child’s pre-school teacher tells him / her that show-and-tell is coming up and they can bring something to share with the class. She then goes over what is appropriate to bring and what is not.
Your child must first use their auditory system to acknowledge that they know what show-and-tell is and how it works. Then, your child must use their auditory system to remember that the teacher said show-and-tell was this Friday. They then have to retain what was appropriate to bring and what was not. Finally, they must use their auditory system to store that information and recall or repeat the details to you when they come home from school.
So, Auditory Processing is not just important, it’s critical!
Auditory Processing Disorder is a huge “buzz word” in education at the moment, and the impact of music education in assisting with this, is well known.
Music and Auditory Processing
Music strengthens the AUDITORY CORTEX, the part of the brain’s temporal lobe that processes aural information. This means that exposing your child to music-based activities from early on, can positively impact their auditory processing skills.
Though scientists don’t yet fully understand the many ways music helps auditory processing and other cognitive skills, they do believe that participating in music-based activities in childhood lays down a neural scaffolding, or framework from which other, similar abilities can grow.
- Music challenges the brain to look for patterns and to differentiate tones, at a range of speeds.
- The brain also has to process different sounds in one piece of music simultaneously – picking out the melodies and harmonies.
- There are also deep-seated interactions between music and the way it is heard by the brain, that stimulate neural connections.
When movement is added to the music-based activities, a fireworks display goes off in the brain!
Movement-based activities help your child’s brain become a “whole” brain. These activities work the left and right sides of the brain to build those neural connections, while also building the brain from top to bottom and back to front. These are the areas that improve expressive language, retention, comprehension, emotional grounding, fight or flight responses, reasoning, critical thinking and much, much more.
So, it makes sense that when you add music to movement, there’s the opportunity to really intensify the learning experience …
That’s exactly what we aim to do with our Wriggle and Rhyme music and movement programme!
We use the amazing medium of music as a catalyst for a vast range of learning and developmental skills.