Creating and maintaining positive social relationships is essential for our physical and mental health and well-being. Here’s a few ways that playing music together plays a key role in in strengthening social bonds and developing social skills.
Contact, Coordination and Cooperation
A natural bonding behaviour is to synchronise or mimic behaviour and movement with each other. By coordinating movement such as keeping a beat or simply tapping our toes with another person, it creates positive feelings towards the other person by releasing endorphins in the brain.
When music is played in a group, it requires cooperation and coordination which increases trust between the group which naturally strengthens social bonds and enhances feelings of connection and social creativity.
Music releases Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone related to positive and happy feelings and is particularly important in helping a mothers’ bond with their newborn baby. Studies have shown that singing, listening, or playing music for half an hour significantly raises oxytocin levels.
Aside from building a connection between a mother and her baby, Oxytocin plays a role in building empathy, trust and feelings of generosity towards others. As listening or playing music together raises oxytocin levels, music becomes a powerful tool and opportunity for social connection and bonding.
Music has been shown to activate areas in the brain that help us understand what others are thinking and feeling. When children play music, whether in a group or individual sessions, they need to watch and listen to others around them for subtle cues for tempo, dynamics, and expressiveness.
These are the same cues we use for reading expressions on other people’s faces. This allows us to perceive and understand people’s feelings, which is the basis for learning empathy. This then helps us form natural, positive relationships.
Self-confidence and Leadership Skills
Leadership is more than being ‘the boss’ and directing others. It is about connecting, influencing and encouraging others to be their best. Children who are given the opportunity to lead through their interests will often see these attributes grow and strengthen.
Although being actively involved in a band, orchestra, choir, or playing a musical instrument won’t simply turn a child into a natural leader, there are links between music and the impact it has on the parts of the brain that aid in self-reflection and motivation.
Mastering a challenging piece of music or performing in front of an audience provides a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-confidence. By being proud of their achievements, children will gain confidence, and this confidence in turn will help develop their leadership skills.
At Inner West Institute of Music, we give our students the opportunity to learn a variety of these social skills through music lessons. We conduct group lessons such as ukulele, singing and drums, run ensembles through various local schools and offer individual lessons tailored specifically to the student and their needs. If you’d like to know more about how we can help your child’s social skills through music, you can contact us here.