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If you've never caught your child humming their favorite song in the shower or belting out the latest Taylor Swift single, then maybe, just maybe, they heard you coming and stopped. With benefits such as improved concentration, listening skills, and better memory, it's no wonder that many schools are making music education an essential part of their curriculum. Research has shown that learning the ins and outs of music can help our children excel beyond our wildest dreams.
Benefits Education & Development
Music education can be a fun and exciting way to encourage our children's minds and assist them in learning an ability that can become invaluable in their lives. Research has shown that music can improve a wide variety of skills such as reasoning, cognitive maturity, and academic aptitude. With such a broad sphere of influence, music education can be evident in better memory, concentration, and reading skills. Improvements such as these according to Dr. Laurel J. Trainor "can have a broad impact on general cognitive skills and school performance." An increase in memory and reading skills provides an adequate base that primarily serves as the cornerstone for the development of many other skills such as reasoning abilities, following directions, and acquiring practical information about their surroundings.
Music Improves Communication
Music has been shown to improve communication in a multitude of ways through the growth of other faculties that ultimately make us effective communicators. By improving their auditory awareness, children are able to distinguish between sounds, a vital aspect of effective communication. Accompanying this new auditory awareness is growth in listening, attention, oral language development, and enriched vocabulary, allowing children to become adept at manipulating words to better express themselves when needed.
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Singing is Healthy
With technology on the rise and the emergence of reality-based gaming, it's getting even harder to get our children engaged in healthy physical activities. Music education not only provides a cognitive advantage, it also provides a physical advantage rivaling that of archetypal cardiovascular exercise. Singing has been shown to strengthen the immune system, lower stress levels, improve posture, and help with sleep. Due to the high physical demands of singing, it ultimately serves to strengthen not only our vocal cords but also our diaphragm which strikingly improves circulation. According to research conducted by the University of Frankfurt, subjects tested before and after choir recital showed an evident boost in immunoglobulins, a crucial antibody in the operation of our nervous system. On the other hand, passively listening to music did not give the same boost in antibodies. So next time you have a cold, forgo the chicken soup and join the choir.
The brain of even a beginner musician works entirely different when compared to that of a nonmusician. Neuroscientists have shown that children involved with music from an early age develop stronger neural connections that can serve as a beneficial tool when it comes to academic improvement. This early musical education strengthens the brains executive functions such as planning, remembering details, managing time, paying attention, as well as switching focus. Such multimodal improvements allow children to grow in a well-rounded way that has overwhelming academic benefits as they progress in age.
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Facilitates Social Cohesiveness
Singing seems to aid social bonding. Research suggests that singing together creates the perception of shared identity. A study conducted by Eiluned Pearce of the University of Oxford showed that singing together facilitated social bonding, emotional closeness, and a group dynamic that allowed individuals to identify with those around them, fostering a shared sense of identity and purpose that ultimately serves as the adhesive between what may be culturally distinct individuals. It's this clear identity that allows children to have a sense of belonging and ease of self-discovery and growth.
Suffice to say, adequate music education should be and is eventually going to become a staple in education. The myriad of benefits that it provides to students markedly outweighs any detractions that can be made as to its place in learning. In such cases, it's easy to see how music education can be surprisingly beneficial to children.