Music makes your child cleverer


A new musical method claims to enhance children's intelligence, as well as making them happier.

The body of evidence, drawn together by Liisa Henriksson-Macaulay, suggests that if a child is actively involved in music-making for as little as 30 minutes to an hour a week, their intelligence, wellbeing and academic performance can be enhanced.

The Finnish author of the book, The Music Miracle, said: “In Finland, most children go to a music playschool until the age of seven. They teach the children music in a very child-centred way. The benefits of this are so amazing that when I moved to Britain, I wanted to bring them to British children.”

In her book, she concludes that musical practice can produce nothing short of a “a full-scale brain upgrade”. She has also developed a system of music tuition called Moosicology, which is intended to be used by parents to maximise the benefits to their child’s development.

Peer-reviewed studies quoted in the book, and which have been verified by a number of leading academics at the Institute of Education and elsewhere, claim the benefits of early engagement with music include improved performance in mathematics and languages; higher levels of IQ; better emotional fluency; greater self-esteem; a more powerful memory; and physical health and fitness.

For babies up to the age of one, Henriksson-Macaulay says, it is best to play them a range of music, including major and minor keys, and different time signatures, rhythms and scales. “In Britain, children’s songs are usually in 4/4 time, and in the major key,” she explains. “That’s a bit like speaking to kids only in verbs. For the full benefits, children need a variety of music.”

She suggests singing and clapping games for children under the age of four, and for those aged between five and seven, she recommends introducing instruments.

“The most dramatic benefits happen before the age of seven or eight,” she says. “But it is important not to create a hothouse environment, or there will be a connection between music and stress.”

Creative Teaching & Learning