MUSIC - As Important as the Three Rs
Date: Monday, February 16, 2009 @ 18:59:04 CST
Topic: Reference

Music has proven benefits for health, well-being and social cohesion and should have a prime place in the school curriculum, argues a new study from the Institute of Education.

So it is worrying that teachers round the world find they have to battle to incorporate it into the classroom, says Susan Hallam, author of Music Psychology in Education.

Professor Hallam says: “Music exerts a powerful impact on our lives and is as important for a well-rounded education as reading, writing and maths. Learning to play an instrument has demonstrable effects on intelligence and, when children play music together, teaches them about co-operation and working together.”

Music helps concentration, aids relaxation and can influence moods and emotions. It can calm or arouse and help overcome anger, despair and other powerful emotions.

Singing helps young children with language development and, where coupled with movement, enhances physical coordination.

“Music should play an important part in early years education, not least because making and listening to music are rewarding for children as well as adults,” says Professor Hallam.

Music can help older people avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness and serve as a source of support for troubled teenagers. Singing in groups enhances the immune system, and there are lower mortality rates in people who attend cultural events or make music.

Music Psychology in Education presents all of the research on music psychology of relevance to education. It describes the origins of music – which no culture has ever been without – and sets out the latest research on music and the brain, the development of musical appreciation in the womb, and the innateness of music to humans.

It gives teachers research-based tips on the development of technical instrumental and vocal skills, composition and improvisation, practice and performance skills.

Though written for teachers, it has useful hints for parents on developing musical ability in their children. It gives advice on parental supervision of practice and the importance of support and encouragement. It also warns parents against forcing teenage musicians to practice.

Professor Hallam says: “Children’s dedication to music needs to be internalised before adolescence if they are to become committed to it. If the parent continues to supervise practice in the teenage years, it is likely to lead to resentment and may lead even the most talented children to give up playing.”

Susan Hallam is professor of education in the Institute of Education’s School of Lifelong Education and International Development. She has pursued careers as both a professional musician and a music educator and is editor of the journal Psychology of Music. Her books include Instrumental Teaching and The Power of Music.

This article comes from United Music Organization

The URL for this story is: