Music & Child Development: Plato's Thoughts on Music!


Plato once said that music “is a more potent instrument than any other for education”.

I found that quote in an article from a website called The Children's Music Workshop:

  an Emmy award winning music education program in Los  

Here is more from the article entitled, "Why Is Music Education Important" (I think this article fits in very well with quality early music education and here are lots of pictures to demonstrate it):

         Four-year old having fun in music class (photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius Photography from Carolyn's archive)

Music participation provides a unique opportunity for literacy preparation. Whether the children are singing, playing, or listening, teachers direct them to listen and hear in new ways which exercises their aural discrimination. Playing instruments and adding movement to the lessons teaches children about sequential learning which is essential in reading comprehension.

 Recent research has found that music uses both sides of the brain, a fact that makes it valuable in all areas of development. Music affects the growth of a child’s brain academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Child brain image from Kindermusik International

Music is academic. For some people, this is the primary reason for providing music lessons to their children. A recent study from the University of California found that music trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. Second graders who were given music lessons scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who received no special instruction. Research indicates that musical training permanently wires a young mind for enhanced performance.Music is physical. Music can be described as a sport. Learning to sing and keep rhythm develops coordination. The air and wind power necessary to blow a flute, trumpet or saxophone promotes a healthy body.Music is emotional. Music is an art form. We are emotional beings and every child requires an artistic outlet. Music may be your child’s vehicle of expression.Music is for life. Most people can’t play soccer, or football at 70 or 80 years of age but they can sing. And they can play piano or some other instrument. Music is a gift you can give your child that will last their entire lives.Research results:

  • Music education has a positive effect on providing opportunities for academic achievement. High school music students have been shown to hold higher grade point averages (GPA) than non-musicians in the same school in a 1981-82 study at Mission Viejo High School in California (Horne, 1983). It should be noted that in order to successfully audition for membership in high school performance classes, skills must be developed in previous years. Ideally, these developmental skills are acquired in the elementary grades.
  • The study of music produces the development of academic achievement skills. A 1981 survey revealed that 40% of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search winners were accomplished musicians (California State Department of Education, 1986).
  • Dr. Frank R. Wilson, assistant clinical professor of neurology at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, reports that learning to play a musical instrument helps students to develop faster physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. He states that research shows instrument practice to enhance coordination, concentration, memory, improvement of eyesight, and hearing acuity is possible. He concludes that learning to play an instrument progressively refines the development of the brain and the entire neuromuscular system (Mueller, 1984). He has organized the International Conferences of Biology of Music Making, which bring together professionals in music, the biologic and health sciences for a sharing of current thought and findings in science and music. The topic of the 1987 conference was "Music and Child Development." Music advocates are encourage by the work of the conferences, which support continuing research into the connection between music education and brain development.

Here are some scenes from Carolyn's Children's Music Workshops at the Muse in Willits, CA 

All photos by Jeri-Jo Idarius Photography (from Carolyn's archives)

In music class, we begin with hello songs that incorporate movement in fun ways (like clapping, stomping, twirling, name it!) 

Then there are open-ended exploration experiences with rhythm instruments and props (like scarves, puppets, hoops, and even cardboard tubes!)

We always enjoy dancing: both free-form and structured

Singing beautiful childhood songs and reproducing fun sounds (like bicycle horns and lion's roars) make vocal development an important part of our class

Listening to fine (short) orchestral pieces and recordings of isolated instruments from all over the world bring auditory development to the child's level 

Stories are a favorite time in Children's Music Workshops and repetition answers the child's inner need to master skills

Goodbyes are short, sweet and always interactive 

Finally, the all important family involvement (both in the workshop and at home) brings the support for a solid musical foundation for the child. 

I'd love to have you attend my next Workshop! You can check out my Workshop Schedule for Teachers, Parents & Children at this link on my website: Magical Movement Company Classes & Workshops.

Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. Thanks for your support!


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