At a Glance

MAY 12, 2022

The Benefits of Streaming Music

Great music helps kids thrive

By Allyson Thayne
Gabb Family Resources

Anytime. Anywhere. Access to digital devices means we can listen to music and experience all its benefits.

The ability to curate a playlist for any occasion provides kids with motivation, emotional comfort, and opportunities to connect socially.

Streaming services with safety filters allow kids to plug into an age-appropriate range of musical content.

Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together.

—Bright Horizons

Mental Benefits From Listening to Music

Access to music can help kids feel happier, motivated to be active, and less stressed.

Dance Party music playlist

Mood booster

It can be a challenge for young people to manage their emotions, and music can help them process these feelings. When it comes to improving mood, mindset is the most critical factor.

When they know that listening to music will help them, they can turn to it when they need an emotional boost. It can serve as a healthy solution when they are feeling blue.

Listening to music they love will increase their dopamine and serotonin levels, which contribute to how they feel enjoyment and happiness.[11] 

Chatting about the feelings music genres or specific songs evoke can make for some great conversation.

Regularly listening to positive music can influence well-being.[5]

Kids can learn to find happy music. Trust them to choose tunes that foster those positive emotions. Sharing music that inspires and uplifts everyone is also a great opportunity to bond.

smiling teen girl looking at ipad with headphones on

Endurance and motivation

Whether your child is interested in sports or pursuing a creative project, streaming music can keep them motivated and increase their grit.

In stressful situations, music can distract and make the task easier to handle so that the listener can tolerate the activity longer.

One study found that endurance during physical activities increased when listeners played music they preferred.

Motivation and endurance are essential skills for kids, whether they’re taking on new hobbies, school assignments, or job responsibilities.

Listening to music your child loves can motivate them to push past their perceived limits while keeping the experience enjoyable.

little boy feeling zen listening to music in headphones

Stress management

Music is a powerful tool in managing stress for children undergoing physical and emotional changes. It is often used in stress-relieving activities such as yoga and meditation.

Listening to calm music can help relax the body and mind, while music with positive lyrics can help us overcome negative emotions.[17]

Playing slower music was found to engage the body’s relaxation response as the listener’s brain synchronizes with the song’s beats.[10]

teen girl with headphones on looking through records at a record store

University of Nevada counselors suggest nature-related music—such as drumming rain sounds—is best for reducing stress. Just remember, for your child to relax with music, they need to be listening to tracks they enjoy.

When adolescents have a positive relationship with music, it improves their psychological distress.[9]

Finding music that gives this effect is easy, especially since many music streaming services have meditation and nature playlists readily available.

Cognitive improvements

Children are at a critical stage of learning and development. Hearing background music enhances their visual-spatial skills, or the ability to identify where objects are in space.

It also helps them perform simple tasks more easily. Because emotions and memory are closely linked, short-term memory recall improves when listening to music that evokes an emotional response.[2]

One study found that students who took music classes performed better academically than other students.

Music aids to resolve cognitive dissonance—a feeling of discomfort arising from having two conflicting beliefs. [4]

Instrumental music may be able to help children process information better. While your child is doing homework or studying, consider streaming a playlist of music without lyrics that will still resonate emotionally without being distracting.

Orchestra recordings or movie scores can be a helpful place to start looking for such music.

Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 (14%) 10-19 year-olds experience mental health conditions, yet these remain largely unrecognized and untreated.

—World Health Organization

Mental health

The World Health Organization estimates that about 10-20% of adolescents worldwide struggle with diagnosable mental disorders.[1] Taking the undiagnosed cases into account, it’s likely that this statistic is much higher.

For all those affected, incorporating music into their routine may be an effective way to offer support as they face those challenges.

Creating a positive environment with music can allow teens to calmly work through complex emotions that often accompany mental health struggles.

Music therapists and professionals can help by focusing on music’s scientific applications, but making music part of daily life can have similar effects.

In children, music can consciously and subconsciously influence and improve confidence, self-esteem, motivation, depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.[18]

Our children will benefit from music that resonates with their feelings and songs that boost their mood to be more optimistic.

room full of kids jumping in a dance studio

Physical Benefits From Listening to Music

From creativity to pain management, music benefits listeners. Check out some of the following positive effects music has on the physical body.

Pain management

If you believe your child may need additional physical support, music can function as a form of healing and therapy.

Currently, nursing practices use music and music therapy to alleviate pain because of its tangible mental and physical benefits.

The use of music can reduce stress, distract from difficult tasks, and improve mood—all of which help pain management.

In a study with open-heart surgery patients, postoperative pain significantly decreased when they listened to music that provided comfort, familiarity, and a sense of control within their environment.[6]

Likewise, music was found to foster hope in adolescent and young adult cancer patients by functioning as a coping mechanism for psychological and physical pain.[12]

During tough times, streaming music that kids love is one way to apply music therapy principles to relieve negative symptoms.

Creativity booster

stick figure jumping with an idea in line of other stick figures

Creativity improves problem-solving skills and helps us cope with uncertainty. When we’re in a rut, we can either dig deeper or dig somewhere else—both forms of creativity.

When we dig deeper, we show persistence by sticking with a problem until we find a solution. Digging elsewhere demonstrates flexibility by experimenting with new ideas.

Create an inspiring music playlist with your kids to get the mental juices flowing, stimulate imagination, and strengthen problem-solving skills.

The ability to engage in divergent thinking is a valuable trait. Research shows that listening to uplifting music can increase this second type of creativity, improving our ability to think outside the box.[16]

As creativity positively influences a child’s cognitive, motor, language, social, and emotional development,[7] encouraging this skill is yet another way to foster child development.

two girls sharing headphones laughing

Social connection

Music creates bonds between family and friends. As music increases oxytocin, a hormone associated with trust, it strengthens social relationships by bringing people together.

Participants experience this effect most when listening to their favorite music,[15] suggesting that shared musical experiences can help us connect. 

Music can send social information to multiple people at once as a group process.

Study participants who reacted to music in a group changed their behaviors to create a sense of social belonging,[8] indicating that music can help us form strong and supportive communities.

Music Benefits Everyone

Streaming music services make life better. Aside from the emotional and physical benefits, it helps us connect, navigate life more successfully, grow our social network, and open up opportunities for parents and children to bond across generations.

Children develop interpersonal connections through music streaming—benefiting from technology while remaining off-screen.

Ultimately, music can improve our well-being and bring families closer together.

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