Kids who grow up hearing music, singing songs, and moving to the beat are exposed to a wide variety of tastes, smells, textures, colors, and sounds. And researchers believe this forges more pathways between the cells in their brains.

Musical experiences are an important way to help create these pathways, also called neural connections. And while listening to music is certainly key to creating them, it’s when kids actively participate in music that they make the strongest connections. Research shows that kids who are actively involved in music (who play it or sing it regularly):

• do better in reading and math when they start school
• are better able to focus and control their bodies
• play better with others and have higher self-esteem