When you become a parent, it doesn’t take very long to learn the powerful effect that music can have on children. From lullabies to the catchy kids songs that never leave our heads (I’m looking at you “Let it Go”), our little ones simply love music. Studies have also shown that children’s brains develop faster when they are exposed to music instruction.
Amanda Bowman Gray knows firsthand the benefits that music can have on a child — and she’s sharing her proof with the world. The mom of five recently posted a video of her daughter playing music for her precious son Bo, who has Down Syndrome. It is so breathtakingly beautiful that it has already been viewed over 32 million times!
Gray writes that her daughter Lydia was watching Bo while she was in the shower. Having a 10-year-old that I frequently instruct to watch his 2-year-old brother for short periods of time, I can relate. Lydia seems to have this babysitting thing figured out and has discovered a brilliant way to keep her little brother entertained. As Gray explains, “If she didn’t have a guitar I don’t know if she would know how to babysit him. This is her go to.” And it’s brilliant.
In the video, you can clearly witness the effect that music has on Bo, as he sways his little body back and forth to the rhythm. He seems transfixed by the music and the guitar that produces it. When his sister begins to sing, she immediately has his attention, and you can see the recognition of the song on Bo’s face.
He sings along with his sister — and the best part is when she pauses on certain lyrics that Bo then belts out. It is so precious it makes my ovaries ache.
As it turns out, not only is this an excellent way to babysit Bo, it is also the most effective tool they have found for increasing his vocabulary, which she says is only 12 words right now.
“It’s proof that music therapy works,” Gray explains in her post.
Researchers say that “musical experience strengthens many of the same aspects of brain function that are impaired in individuals with language and learning difficulties.”
And the fact is — we all benefit from music. The Nordoff-Robbins Center describes music as therapy, saying:
“Music is an intrinsic part of all of us: pulse and rhythm are found in our heartbeat, our breathing and our movement; melody is created in our laughing, crying, screaming or singing; the whole range of our emotions can be held within the rhythms and harmonies of different musical styles and idioms. These intimate connections with music can remain despite disability or illness, and are not dependent on a musical training or background.”
As a parent, I have seen the many benefits of having a home filled with music. When my kids are bored and acting out, sometimes I will get out my guitar and play some chords to get them dancing as a way to release energy. When my babies were colicky, there were many times where singing to them was the only way I could get them to calm down and stop crying.
As for Gray, she probably didn’t imagine that her video would receive so much attention, but it’s the simple beauty of the love between these two siblings that is so evident and powerful. It’s impossible not to be affected by it.
I have a feeling that Bo and Lydia will remain close as they learn from each other and continue to make beautiful music together.