By Falguni Shah (Falu) and Dr Ami Anand Shah
“Music is such that a soul sings and a soul hears.” I started singing when I was just three years old and have witnessed the emotional and physical power of music firsthand.
Growing up, I was considered an underdog and was often bullied. It didn’t help that my complexion as a girl was dusky and dark, which people labeled as “unattractive”. I was often ridiculed and called names. People around me would say, “Who would want to marry you?” This created a lot of insecurity and shame that started in early childhood.
I found peace in music. To cope with such harsh criticism and bullying, I found that music gave me the inner strength to fight the demons that were created by such cruel treatment. Music became my miracle – it opened up my mind, heart, and soul, and enabled me to learn forgiveness for those who simply did not understand how to treat others as they would want to be treated.
The more I connected with my musical notes, the less these derogatory comments affected me. I was able to keep practicing and deal with negative people around me with a smile, confidence, and love in my heart. Music became a force that was unbreakable and my best friend. As I developed my craft, I was slowly able to trust others and gain confidence through sounds that forever changed not only my personality, but my life.
Now, every note that I sing creates a wall of confidence and community with whomever is in my orbit. The gift of music transformed into my career and enabled me to become a singer/songwriter, giving me the opportunity to spread the joy I’ve discovered to the rest of the world.
Throughout history, music is the single bond that rises above all people–regardless of where one is from, what religion he or she practices, or what one may believe. From early civilisation to current times, the importance of music in a child’s life and development of personality starts even before he or she is born. For example, several research studies show that if a parent who plays music to a child in utero, that child will prefer the same sounds and melodies once they enter the world. In fact, playing music before birth and throughout a child’s life contributes to the social, intellectual and personal development for a child.
Music stimulates all senses through sound, and this information has to be processed by several different areas within a child’s mind. For example, when a child sings, many areas of his or her brain get stimulated with the sounds and subsequent coordination. As a result, the brain develops a path for such skills that it remembers and uses in other situations, developing the brain’s hard drive for life. These skills are so automatic that we often don’t realize that is how our brain is training itself every second of each day. Many research studies demonstrate how listening to music, singing, or playing an instrument is beneficial to children who are learning how to speak, read or learning a new language. It is also correlated to enhancing math skills and has been proven to further develop body or motor skills.
Another fabulous benefit is the healing power of music, which has been well-documented in scientific literature for several years. Music provides an outlet for creativity and confidence as it did for me and so many other children around the world. Evidence shows that music helps kids cope with anxiety, depression, bullying, feelings of insecurity and many other conditions by activating areas of the brain that promote positive emotions. Children who engage in music learn to be creative and unlock the door in their minds and hearts to dream and understand that anything is possible to achieve.
One of the most valuable aspects of music is the ability to help shape a child’s overall personality. For example, if a child is naturally shy, he or she can bond with other children through music. We see this everyday in child-focused music activities. The child will learn music within a community, make friends, and enter a creative world of bonding that is so important in a child’s early developmental years.
Children who regularly sing or play an instrument also have the opportunity to be part of a team. Of course, there is no wicket like in cricket, however the team of music sparks friendships that can last for years and creates a bond of friendship over time. Children find musical activity not only rewarding, but they develop a sense of great accomplishment over time while doing such a pleasurable activity. Children who participate in music-driven skills also develop higher emotional intelligence which becomes clearly evident as they grow.
Music motivates a child to be responsible and committed to a regularly scheduled activity. Such skills will only create a lifetime of benefits and value for any child once independent. Learning to set goals, whether at a voice lesson or during a piano class, grants the child the ability to set life milestones and achieve them over time.
So, whether you are expecting or have a child, sing, play an instrument, or use any object to make a beautiful sound that will optimise your child’s personality and wellness through music!
(Falu is a Grammy-nominated and internationally renowned singer, and Dr Ami Anand Shah is an integrative medicine doctor and founder of http://www.face2facehealth.com.)
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