Throughout history, music has been used as an instrument of sociality for cultures the world over. Its power has been touted as the great elixir of both physiological as well as emotional ills. Researchers have studied its effect on emotional/social development, physical development, and intelligence.
The role of music in the education of the young child is at the forefront of all other early learning since the child’s musical intelligence overlaps and intersects with all other intelligence defined by Gardner (Thurman, Chase, and Langness, 1987). Music is a precursor to the development of the other intelligence: linguistic, musical, bodily kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, spatial, and personal (Boyd, 1989).
Visualize the following scenario. Ten kindergarten children are singing the song Five Little Bunnies. Their musical intelligence is used as they sway left to right in rhythm with the music. Their logical-mathematical intelligence is piqued in the counting of bunnies. Their linguistic skills are developed when they create their own personal interpretation of the song. Their spatial and personal development is stimulated as they move around like a bunny.
Children love to sing. Singing generates emotional dimension and is extremely important in social/cultural development since it and culminating activities are invaluable to establishing group identity. Ritualized singing at the beginning and end of play periods develops a meaningful bridge between the child’s home life and school life. (Boyd, 1989).
Meaningful, well-constructed songs are easily memorized and will come to mind at any given moment providing the child singing it a comforting reminder of earlier activities or learning experiences.