Music and Children
At Children's Chorus of Maryland, we believe that music communicates the essence of the human spirit, and that the voice is truly the "first" musical instrument. We also believe that simply learning to sing is not enough. To truly and fully enjoy making music with others, one must be fluent in the language of music in addition to vocal training. This means learning how to listen and to how interpret and respond to what you hear (ear training). It especially means learning to read and write music (sight singing, taking dictation, conducting, arranging, and composing).
The benefits of music education are widely known. When a child learns to actually read and write music (not just to sing along or listen), something happens that enables the brain to learn more easily and more fully. Children and music go together, and when the child learns to use his/her own musical instrument to fully express musical concepts, the benefits are simply enormous.
Starting music education in early childhood (CCM starts training at age 4) in age-appropriate small-group classes is much more effective and much more enjoyable for the child compared to private music lessons. Private voice lessons are not recommended before puberty, and with CCM’s twice-weekly classes, painful and forced “homework” and “practice” sessions at home are not required. The children learn easily and effortlessly in a supportive and playful environment at CCM.
Scientists and educators agree that music, as the often under-appreciated “seventh science”, strengthens many essential areas of a child's development, such as physical coordination, timing, memory, visual, aural, analytical and language skills. In fact, as psychologist Frances Rauscher of University of California–Irvine notes, music appears to strengthen the links between brain neurons and build new spatial reasoning, improving a child’s spatial intelligence. Studies also show that music dramatically improves the type of intelligence needed for high–level math and science.
Dr. Frank Wilson, Assistant Neurology Professor at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, reports that his research has shown that music connects and develops the motor systems of the brain in a way that cannot be done by any other activity. Recent data from UCLA brain scan research studies show that music more fully involves brain functions (both left and right hemispheres) than any other activities studied. Dr. Wilson feels these findings are so significant that it will lead to a universal understanding in the next century that music is an absolute necessity for the total development of the brain and the individual. This means that the business of making high quality music training accessible and fun for children is one that CCM takes seriously.
Research suggests a close relationship between music study and academic achievement.
In early childhood ... [music] seems to improve spatial reasoning, one aspect of general intelligence which is related to some of the skills required in mathematics. While general attainment is clearly affected by literacy and numeracy skills, motivation which depends on self-esteem, self-efficacy and aspirations is also important in the amount of effort given to studying. Engagement with music can enhance self-perceptions but only if it provides positive learning experiences which are rewarding. This means that musical experiences need to be enjoyable providing challenges which are also attainable. Teaching needs to generate an environment which is supportive and sufficiently flexible to facilitate the development of creativity and self-expression. Group music making is also beneficial to the development of social skills and can contribute to health and well-being throughout the lifespan and can therefore contribute to community cohesion providing benefits to society as a whole.
—The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. Hallam, Susan. International Journal of Music Education, August 2010 vol. 28 no. 3 269-289.
High school music students score higher on SATs in both verbal and math than their peers.
—Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001
The world's top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan stand atop worldwide science achievement and have strong commitment to music education.
—1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test
The nation's top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st century.
—The Changing Workplace is Changing Our View of Education, Business Week, October 1996