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You can rarely find a person in the world who does not enjoy music. Even though our taste for music is different, we all enjoy the sounds and find some kind of joy in them. Some of us love singing, some love playing some music, while others enjoy just listening to it. There are numerous choices, but the fact is that music remains one of the biggest universal interests. Therefore, regardless if children are amazing singers, love playing the piano or just listen to music in their room, everyone needs music education.
There are many other benefits of music education beyond the fact that we all enjoy it. In order to see how a child can benefit from music education, we are offering you a list of reasons why music education is important.
Music Facilitates Language Learning
One of the biggest discoveries in terms of music education at this moment is the influence music has on language learning. According to research, children can better decode words and sounds when they are exposed to music because they are actually enhancing the natural abilities to hear.
Additionally, music is now known to develop the part of the brain that is involved in language processing. The Children’s Music Workshop has reported: “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways.”
Music Enhances Other Skills
Music is much more than the enjoyable sounds we hear. It is more than our fingers touching an instrument to produce sounds or the voice we let out when we sing. Some researchers have reported that music has facilitated the learning of students in school and enhanced their skills. According to the executive director of the NAMM foundation, Mary Luehrisen “a music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning”.
Children are able to learn other subjects and understand the world better when they are exposed to and learn about music. There is a reason why pregnant women started to play Mozart to their unborn children – music helps children develop mentally. This does not mean that they will make their children smarter by playing music to them, but it does mean that it will increase their understanding of other things.
Music is Known to Increase the IQ
The 2004 issue of Psychological Science has published a study written by E.Glenn Schellenberg from the University of Toronto, which reported a slight increase in the IQ of students who had weekly music education lessons. One group of students was actually given music classes, while other were given drama lessons. The idea here was to show whether it is arts in general that increases the IQ in students or it is only music. The results were on the side of music – the six-year-old children who were given music lessons had an average of three IQ points higher than those who had drama lessons.
According to Schellenberg, ‘there is a dose-response association’ when it comes to music education and IQ. The professor explains that the more a child is exposed to music and learns about it, the better they can perform in school.
The Brain of a Musician Works Harder
This may seem a bit strange, but there is also research that indicates that the brain of those who are most exposed to music, such as musicians, works differently than the brain of people who are not exposed to music, even at a young age.
Actually, there is a whole science that works on researching the effect of music on the brain called cognitive neuroscience of music. We are speaking of a scientific study that is concerned with the mechanisms of the brain that are involved in the listening, composing and performing of music.
The Children’s music workshop has also claimed that ‘there is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things).” This means that children who understand music from a young age find it easier to visualize what goes in combination in what and are better at solving puzzles or even math problems.
Pruett from the Performing Arts Medicine Association has also stated: “We have some pretty good data that music instruction does reliably improve spatial-temporal skills in children over time”. According to this theory, music education can greatly help students in solving problems that require multiple steps of more complex thinking.
Music Education Leads to Higher Success
We would like to point out to a study that was published in 2007 by a professor of music therapy at the University of Kansas, Christopher Johnson. According to this professor, students in elementary schools that were greatly exposed to music education scored much higher than those of schools where music education is not greatly implemented. According to this research, students scored 22% higher in English as a mother tongue and 20% higher in math scores. The results are calculated from the total number of schools that were into the research, which means that this difference in test scores does not depend on any factors like socioeconomic disparities among schools. “It is crucial to note that this project has revealed a relationship between quality music instruction and heightened academic performance,” reported Johnson, ‘ Clearly, music supports academic performance, and quality music programs are related to higher test scores.”
This particular study actually points to the importance of including music education programs in the education system of every school. Regardless of the school or the community it is located in, curriculum decisions should be made and applied everywhere, all with the purpose of increasing both the awareness of music education and its implementation in the children’s education programs. Joe Lamond, the president of NAAMM has stated that “Music education provides a solid foundation for children, giving them benefits in childhood that lead to success in life”.
Music Does Not Make People Smarter
The case with pregnant women playing classic music to their children is only one example of the fact that people understand all these theories as if the music makes children smarter. It does not. Sure, music can improve the children abilities to learn other subjects aside from music, but it cannot make people smarter.
The benefits of music education are intrinsic since they include learning skills, improving performance, being more disciplined and learning to better understand the things that students are exposed to, such as other subjects. Music is important and can be very beneficial and on top of it all, makes the kids happier and more fulfilled. When children are exposed to music, especially when they are talented, they are enriching their appetite for learning things they find interesting or are good at.
The first and most important reason why music education should be a bigger part of the educational programs is to make students more musical. The benefits of making them better students and increasing their IQ or ability to learn a foreign language come later on. After all, the sole success of learning to sing or to play an instrument or to at least be well educated in terms of music is a very valuable thing to start with.
Learning about the advantages of music as a part of our lives is extremely important and does not solely apply to students. However, as is the case with everything else, music education is also most effective when it is implemented and taught at an early age. As Plato has said ‘ Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.