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How to feed your child’s brain with music

26 February 2021

Music supports all forms of learning and development in young children. But you don’t have to be a professional musician to get involved.

Neuromusical educator and researcher Dr Anita Collins says you just need to switch on to the sounds that are all around us.


Broaden your musical horizons  

“Music is like food for the brain. If we only fed our children one type of food it wouldn’t be very healthy, and in the same way they need a varied diet of music, ranging from pop to complex music like classical symphonies,” Dr Collins said.

You don’t have to be pitch perfect to sing

“We’re all born musical. If you’re out of practice you can start by humming to yourself. Singing to your child is important and it’s also an opportunity for a lovely connection.”

Add music to your daily routine

“If you have a smart speaker or phone or tablet, you can take turns at dinnertime to choose songs or ask it something specific like ‘play me the most popular piece of music ever written’. You can do the same thing in the car, or just regularly change the radio station.”

Check your kitchen drawers

“Music is all around us and can be created out of anything. Our brains see all sound as music, so your household is a wealth of music-making things.”

“You can encourage exploration by getting your child to cover their eyes while you tap on a pot with different utensils and asking them to guess which one you’ve used.”

Point out sounds in traffic or nature

“Highlighting different sounds helps children make the connection between the sound and the source. It also teaches them how sounds can vary.”


Research has shown that hearing and repeating rhythm and melody enhances attention, focus and the development of working memory. Being involved in creating and understanding music helps improve literacy and numeracy standards and makes children more confident learners.

Dr Collins helped develop the state’s Music Education Strategy, and public schools with primary enrolment are being offered fully funded access to on an online music education resource and package.

For more information about how you can get involved check out the Quality Music Education Framework.