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Why Music Is Important In Our Schools

Posted by Claire Andersen on 05/11/19 06:11

Bang the Drum and Get it On – why music in our schools is so very important!

Can you imagine a life without music? It would be like a home without love. As soon as we are born we respond to the sounds around us and the first thing we hear is our mother’s voice. And that’s the same voice which sings us to sleep and hums those long-forgotten melodies which are set in our hearts.

That’s all very lovely – but does music have a place in our schools? Or is it merely some kind of relaxing distraction?

Music Benefits Children of all Ages.

Young children aren’t just comforted by music, they pick-up on the tones and unknowingly recognise different frequencies and melodies, too. By the time they are toddlers, they’ve instinctively developed the ability to identify tunes (tone, rhythm and melody). And this goes hand-in-hand with their language ability and development.

Primary school children are enthused by sing-along songs which involve counting, spelling or sequences of events (‘one green bottle, hanging on the wall . . .’).

 

Academic Benefits

An article recently published in Brainworld indicates that imitating the rhythms and patterns of songs – clapping to a beat and singing – engages and stimulates the same part of the brain needed for language development. These children process language and speech more readily. They find it easier to learn to read – thus they begin to enjoy reading at an earlier age.

More young people who have been continually exposed to music go on to college and university.

Students of music are constantly using their memory to perform. The ability to memorise runs through all of the academic strata and will benefit students in education and beyond.

Academic achievement improves. The processes needed to read music and master an instrument demand skill and craftsmanship: students gradually learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. Once experienced, this will run through into all areas of life.

Discipline. Students will need to set aside the time to practice and rise to the challenge of mastering an instrument.

But academic achievement isn’t the only benefit of music education and exposure. Music – and performing it in public – fires all areas of child development; intellectual, emotional, plus motor and language skills. It develops confidence and enhances sociability.

Music education heightens and stimulates academic performance, logic, and coordination. And learning to play an instrument takes all of this into a higher realm.

Cultural Benefits

In today’s globalised society, it has become imperative that educators instil a multicultural awareness into the upcoming generation. In an effectively structured curriculum, a cross-subject will deliver content via not only the arts but the sciences and technology too. This has been explored in an article by The National Association for Music Education, summarised at the end.

Music, singing, and dance are ideal vehicles in this respect, as they key-into basic human responses at an early age, thus needing little in the way of skills or special training. 

Music provides an accompanying backdrop to the cultures of different nations, providing an insight into the history, lifestyles and expectations of their peoples, seen via musical style and the content of their traditional and modern songs. Even within the same nation, there are regional variations in language and dialect which reflect historical and ethnic development. An introduction to all these elements, within a national and international context, particularly at an early age, helps to break social barriers and develop empathy.

Social, Emotional and Life Benefits.

Music helps us heal: it’s a recognised therapy in the treatment of a number of conditions and illnesses.

Self-confidence develops. Performing to an audience is intimidating and being able to overcome this builds pride and a sense of accomplishment. This is reinforced by approval from peers, parents and teachers.

Creative thinking. The ability to create and compose is part and parcel of music education. Students of the arts can more readily think laterally and recognise that there may be several solutions to a problem.

Teamwork. Being a part of a band or orchestra teaches everyone how to work together within a structured situation where everyone is a valued individual. Shared achievement takes on a new meaning.

Responsible risk-taking. Performing a piece in public is shrouded with anxiety and fear. Dealing with this teaches students to evaluate later-life situations in a familiar context and achieve success, thus extending their potential.

Preparation for the creative economy. Future-proof education. Investing in creative education can prepare students for a 21st-century workforce. Our new citizens need the ability to think outside the box.

To find out more about the music program at OWIS, click here.

 

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