Music in a Child’s Life Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake. ” Many people would agree that life would be different without music, but believing that life would be a mistake is a strong statement. Although, taking a look at the ways music has impacted our lives, one might agree with Nietzsche. Music is the fundamental key to developing a well rounded child. As schools are cutting music programs, children’s lives are suffering. For many people, music is a form of self expression; creating an outlet for their energy, and an effective way to develop a child’s brain.
Early childhood music lessons have lifelong benefits. Making music is such a basic life skill as walking or talking. As children need these other basic parts of life, they need to be supplied with music as well. For as long as anyone can remember, music has been played and listened to. Music has served many purposes throughout the course of history, like communication, praise, enjoyment, etc. Therefore, it is no wonder that music is such an effective tool for developing children. In the Pennsylvania school system, music must be taught up until the fifth grade.
It has been said, that when children learn to play a musical instrument, they strengthen a range of auditory skills. A study showed that music lessons in childhood may lead to changes in the brain that persist years after the lessons have stopped. Northwestern University researchers recorded auditory brainstem responses (electrical brain waves) of college students in response to listening to complex sounds. The group, who reportedly had musical training in early childhood, was better able to pick out pitch and other essential elements from the complex sounds with which they had been tested.
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Having the ability to detect these sounds is unique, giving children the opportunity to use these skills in the future. Many mothers believe that talking to their baby when it is in the womb makes a difference after the baby is born. Authorities also believe that music makes a big impact on unborn infants, babies, toddlers and even high school students because of the skills developed while learning a musical instrument. Music stimulates growth in the brain that can result in better motor skills, advanced auditory and language skills, and a smarter adult.
Furthermore, if a child continues to hear music after birth, it can increase their creativity and an abstract mentality. As children grow up, many parents enroll them in music classes to enrich their learning. Not only will this improve their extracurricular activities, but also their academic life. As students advance throughout grade school, there is an evident difference seen between children who have continued their musical training and those who have not.
Most children in music programs have better grades and higher test scores when compared to children who have stopped playing their musical instrument in elementary school. A study performed by the College Entrance Examination Board of Princeton, New Jersey showed that students taking courses in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT than students with no arts participation. Music performance students scored on average 53 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math portion.
Music appreciation students scored 61 points higher on the verbal and 42 points higher on the math portion (“Profile of SAT Program Test Takers” 3). The U. S. Department of Education recommends the arts to college-bound middle and junior high school students asserting, “Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as valuable experience that broadens students’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them”( “Getting Ready for College Early” 12).
By having music classes in grade school, children are setting themselves up for a better and more prepared college experience. In addition, it plays a part in developing “children’s intellectual development” (15). The U. S. Department of State also suggests for college-bound high school students to have one year of Visual and Performing Arts classes (16). As students grow up, music plays a less prominent role in their lives, but the skills developed continues.
Lewis Thomas, physician and biologist, found that music majors comprise the highest percentage of accepted medical students at 66% (“Vivo Morphometry” 417). Researchers in Leipzig discovered through the use of brain scans that musicians had larger planum temporale, the region of the brain associated with reading skills. Also, musicians had a thicker corpus callosum, the nerve fibers that connect the two halves of the brain.
Therefore, children who have learned music at a young age have grown up to have better reading skills and are better able to utilize both sides of their brain because of a thicker corpus callosum. Businesses have also recognized the benefits of musical education in their employees. In fact, according to Norma R. Augustine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Martin Marietta Corporation, “The arts enrich communities and employees, and also stimulate the kind of intellectual curiosity our company needs to stay competitive”(“Music’s Values”).
As seen throughout many cases, students who have developed musical skills in grade school grow up to have a more stimulated brain. Former presidents John Quincy Adams and Bill Clinton played the flute and saxophone. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, played the baritone. These three men developed a musical intelligence from playing an instrument while growing up. Throughout many generations, music had been integrated into society. Without music, the lives of many individuals would not have been enriched with ingenuity and creativity.
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