Before my current student phase, I was a Kindermusik teacher. I read a lot of research while I was doing that about the myriad benefits of music on the human brain, especially the young, developing human brain. More synapses are firing and more sections of our brain are in use when we make or purposefully listen to music than when we do any other activity. When I think about my future classroom, I think about songs, dances, rhythmic storytelling, and little tunes woven into the fabric of our day.
I came across this video on Kindermusik's blog, called Mind on Music. Sometimes this blog can be a little too much about Corporate and not enough about education, but often there are gems, like this summary of Northwestern University's research on the effects of musical education on language development. Really nice graphic representations here of their data.