Music is a Universal Phenomenon

Meet Ari. Ari is growing up in an environment where music can be found in many places. Ari’s parents sing lullabies and his neighbors play the piano. Ari will even hear songs on the radio in the car and in the background at the grocery store.

Music exists in every culture, and has been crucial for societal gatherings for thousands of years. Think about the rich musical styles and traditions in the United States alone. A quick flip through radio stations will bring you everything from blues and country to hip-hop and punk. Music is present almost everywhere we go. In fact, musical sounds may be as prominent as the sounds of language in our daily lives. In this module, we will examine some characteristics of music and explore how infants and children learn about music in their environment. We will also discuss how musical experiences in early development can have a wide range of benefits for children.

  • Beat
    the regular pulse of music
    Electroencephalography (EEG)
    a non-invasive method used to measure electrical activity in the brain
    Executive function
    a set of mental abilities that help us focus attention, remember information, and switch between tasks
    Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
    a non-invasive brain imaging technique used to determine which regions of the brain are active
    a grouping of beats with specific patterns
    the ability to change how neurons in our brain are connected to each other
    the measure of how high or low we perceive sounds to be
    Pro-social behavior
    actions that are intended to help others
    Synchronized movement
    movements that occur in sync with musical beats and, or with other people
    the quality of a musical sound or voice that allows us to tell the differences between instruments or voices