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Psychologists say that music can help improve learning, memory, attention and social behaviour in children.

Dubai: Music could be “an underutilised tool in the fight for normality” by families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, Dubai-based psychologists have said.

Dr Upasana Gala, founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, said: “Music can improve learning, memory, attention and social behaviour in children.” Her comments come as data from global streaming platform Spotify show that families cherish the ability to listen together, whether in the car or while cooking dinner together, for example.

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The research says 98 per cent of parents say they listen to music together as a family, with nearly 59 per cent indicating they listen together daily. Dr Gala said: “The current pandemic adds an extra layer of stress on both children and parents, making the potential for social behaviour issues even worse. Change is hard as it is, and this year there is more change in children’s routines than ever.”

Music in the classroom

“Light background music can help with concentrating on tasks. For long study sessions, listening to pleasurable music increases endurance and allows them to study for longer. Listening to certain kinds of music engages areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and memory. Music in the classroom can also be a great teaching aid while concepts can be memorised easier if set to a song. It can also be used to introduce movement during breaks to rejuvenate the brain so it can learn better.”

For Dubai mom Cara McDonald, music has been a “revelation” for her six-year-old following a challenging move from Australia to the UAE just before the pandemic. “We previously lived in Dubai so knew what we were getting ourselves into. Obviously, we didn’t factor in a pandemic. Our son was due to start school as soon as we arrived, instead he missed six months of in-class learning and it’s definitely made him more anxious about school,” McDonald said.

“What we’ve discovered is that regular doses of music through the speakers or his headphones really boosts his confidence. We’ve helped him put playlists of his favourite songs together using our Spotify Family account but we also use the focus hub options which have a lot of variety depending on what work he’s doing.”

Calming effects

Dr Mona Mona Youssri, Psychologist, Family Counsellor and Clinical Director, Hayati Health Centre DHCC, said: “Music plays a massive role in our life as humans in general, as we need it to express our happiness, it’s an important drive for physical activities and it also helps us process sadness, in addition to the calming effects that can help us relax when we are stressed.” She added: “As a psychologist, I use music in two ways with my clients, the first one in helping them to relax and coach them on how to calm down their mind and body, and the second way is to use music with appropriate lyrics for each case with the intention of empowerment.”