Everyone loves music, whether your taste is for classical, rock, rap, jazz or one of the many other styles and it can effect our mood or feelings in profound ways. Research has recently shown that, not only is it enjoyable to listen to music but it can have a significant effect in developing brains.

Babies grow and develop by laying down connections or pathways in their brains which become stronger as they are used and one way to encourage this development is to introduce them to music at an early age. It has been shown that music, particularly classical music, increases the number and strength of these pathways, so assists the brain to develop.

Why does classical music help the developing brain more than other types of music? One theory is that this type of music uses complex rhythms and melodies which even young babies are aware of and this aids the ability to make complex connections in the brain. It has also been shown that, after listening to classical music, spacial reasoning abilities are improved temporarily. In addition these types of reasoning are also improved when a child learns a musical instrument and this is longer lasting.

Although the effect is most pronounced with classical music, all types of music can help the developing child to grow intellectually.

Music, as any parent knows, can have an effect on the mood of a child. We lull them to sleep with soothing lullabies, or stimulate them with louder, more upbeat music. All children love to make their own music and we can introduce them to interactive musical toys almost from birth. A musical play mat, with toys, sounds and melodies is a great first musical toy and we can progress with more sophisticated musical toys as they grow.

Children love banging on drums but parents may not be so happy! However if you buy a better quality drum rather than the cheap toy drums that make a tinny sound you may be happier to allow your child to play with it! Look for Remo drum sets and standalone drums such as the Remo Djembe drum which all make much more melodic sounds that both children and parents will enjoy. They also make different notes depending on which part of the drum head is struck by the mallet. Another good idea is a set of musical hand bells that are easy to use for small hands and great fun for the whole family. Each bell has a different note and a child can play simple songs themselves or get together with other children to make music together.

For an older child look for a learning musical keyboard that has colored keys to help a child play songs and melodies from simple song books that come with the keyboards.

In conclusion it is essential to introduce music as early as possible to your children to help them in their intellectual development as well as to give them a love of music that will last them all their lives.