Music, literacy and neuroscience.
Music, sound and language share a processing network in the human brain. Babies learn to process sound before they learn language, and respond to the rhythm and cadences of sound and speech. In other words, babies learn to process music before language, and apply the patterns of music to language. That's why toddlers have a melodic style of speech, and imitate rhythms of speech before they understand individual words.
Music makes for a better reader
There are two stage in the development of reading - the ability to break word sounds into individual elements that make up the word, and the association between those sounds and the symbol that represents them. Music helps children do this. The association of a sound with a written note is the essence of reading, and learning to read music helps this development.
Musical training aids comprehension
Reading fluency also takes in intonation and inflection, to signify a question or an exclamation. Music helps children do this.
How parents can help
Singing and talking to babies is invaluable, and singing with them as they develop both builds bonds and helps with speech and language. Teaching children to read music helps with reading, and letting children learn to make music with a suitable instrument helps reinforce learning and allow constructive play. A good music program will be structured and in stages, letting your child learn at their own pace.
Actively learning music is vital - listening to music is valuable, but loud music or background music can interfere with their listening. And learning to read musical notation will not only help with literacy, but give your child a passport to a lifetime of music.
Sources: Collins, Anita (2014) Ted Talks x University of Canberra.
Burke, Nicola (2018) Musical Development Matters in the Early Years Early Education.
Doniou, Misty & Collins, Anita (2018) Learning music early can make your child a better reader, The Conversation, ABC Australia.
Hallam, Susan (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education