The Benefits of Music for Young Children

By: Kevin Tuck

Young children just love music and often it is through music that young children communicate for the first time, whether it be through gesture, smiling or action.

But is there more to it than that?

There is a growing amount of evidence to show that music enhances a childs ability to think, learn, reason and create and it is in the first five years of a child's life that all of the formative brain development and connections are being formed. Music brain researcher, Dr Gordon Shaw describes music as "a window into higher brain Function".

Here are three compelling reasons why we should be sending our children to music lessons while they are young.

Reason#1 - Music Makes Children Smarter

Neurologiacal Research indicates that because music involves ratio's, fractions, and thinking in space and in time that it provides learning not only for foundation musical learning,but also learning for foundation math learning being a pre requisite to learning both these subjects at higher levels.

In a study carried out by Debby Mitchell at the University Of Central Florida it was found that young children with developed rhythm skills perform better academically in early school years.

In a paper compiled at a Music Educators National Conference, 2001, it was noted that high school music students score higher verbal and math score than their peers and in research done by Phi Delta Kappan, 1994 and a paper prepared by Peter H Wood, It was found that Music Majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school.

Reason#2- Music is a recognised form of intelligence

In an article called " The Changing Workplace is changing our view of education", Business week, 1996 it was said "The nation's top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weeknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st Century"

Howard Gardner, a renowned Professor of Cognition and Education wrote a book in 1983 called Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, suggests that there are many kinds of human intellegence and identifies musical intellegence to be one of them.

Reason#3 - Skills learned through music can transfer into skills which are useful in every part of a child's studies at school and can help with general well being.

As Senator Jeff Bingaman said "Music Education can be a positive force on all aspects of child's life, particularly on their academic success"

It was reported in a Texas Commission on drug and alcohol abuse that secondary students who were involved in band and orchestra reported the lowest life time and current use of all drugs.

Skills learned through the discipline can transfer into study skills, communication skills and cognitive skills useful in every part of a child's school life and a Harvard university study named the "Mozart Effect" found that spacial- temporal reasoning improves when children learn to make music.

As Michael Greene the Recording Academy President and CEO said at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2000, "Music is a magical gift we must nourish and cultivate in our children, especially now as scientific evidence proves that an education in the arts makes better math and science students, enhances spatial intelligence in newborns, and let's not forget that the arts are a compelling solution to teen violence, certainly not the cause of it!"

Kids and Teens
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