Music Helps Children Learn

Neuroscience shows that regular music-making develops strong neural connections across the whole brain. Like the foundation of a house, stronger neural connections lead to bigger, better brains and underpin learning. Find out how active music-making supports all areas of early years development.

Prime Areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Physical Development
Self-confidence and self-awareness

Music helps children to try new activities. To become more confident to speak in a familiar group talking about their ideas

Managing feelings and behaviour

Music helps children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. To work as part of a group or class, understand and follow the rules.

Managing feelings and behaviour

Music helps children play co-operatively, taking turns with others.

Listen and Attention

Music encourages children to listen attentively in a range of situations. To listen to stories, anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. To give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.


Music encourages children to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.


Music encourages children to express themselves effectively

Communication and Language
Moving and handling

Music helps children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. To move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. To handle equipment and tools effectively – such as instruments.

Health and self-care

Music helps children know the importance of good health of physical exercise and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe.

Physical Development

Specific Areas

Understanding the World
Expressive Arts & Design

Music helps children gain phonic knowledge that will contribute to decoding regular words and read them aloud accurately. To recognise rhymes, rhythms and patterns of words. To use expression in storytelling through work with intonation, tempo, dynamics, actions and facial expressions that go with music-making.


Musical instruments help children develop fine motor skill and manipulation required for writing.

Music and Maths

Music helps children order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. To use counting on and counting back, shapes and one to one correspondence. Music is built on recurring mathematical patterns and sequences – children can develop mathematical thinking as they respond to this.

Shape, space and measure

Music helps children use everyday language to talk about size, position and to learn special awareness. Music and movement helps children to recognise, create and describe patterns and to explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes.

Understanding The World
People and communities

Music helps children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. To learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions – different cultures.

The World

Music provides a learning style through which topics can be explored. It can help children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. To talk about their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. To make observations of animals and plants.

Expressive Arts and Design
Exploring and using media and materials

Music helps children to sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them.

Being imaginative

Music helps children represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through music, dance, role-play and stories.

Find out more

Download Our Practitioner Guide to Active Music Making including information sheets detailing age specific benefits of music with links to EYFS and Birth to Five Matters.
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