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Music and Children

  • Babies are born with a pre disposition or natural ability for music
  • Music is often a natural part of the daily routine
  • Music is often associated with positive experiences
  • Music can be highly motivating
  • Music is easily accessible to most children
  • Music can provide alternative ways to communicate without words
  • Music time can be shared by different groups of people

Music reinforces learning experiences and gives children a fun, motivating approach to new learning situations.Music can help...

  • Thinking skills - Staying on task, increasing attention span, , following instructions, understanding and practicing new concepts.

  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy - can be taught using music, and can be reinforced. Language, maths and music are similar in that they follow patterns and rules.

  • Physical skills - Gross and fine , co-ordination, body awareness.
  • Verbal and non-verbal self-expression.
  • Sharing, turn-taking, sitting and waiting.

Now it's still early days in this field, and we don't have a lot of data to look at. But over the last few years, there have been a few interesting papers about how music has a few odd side effects.

One 3-year study in Switzerland looked at 1,200 children, and found they actually learn faster, when they have more music classes. These kids, aged between 7 and 15, were split among some 70 different classes. Each class ran for 45 minutes. Before the study began, all 1,200 kids had one or two music classes a week. But once the study had started, half the kids had the number of music classes increased to 5 every week. And to balance up this increased time doing music, they had fewer classes in maths and language.

The results, after 3 years, were astonishing. The kids who were given the extra music classes, were actually better at language, and as good at maths, as the other kids - even though they had had fewer language and maths classes. The music class kids were also better in retelling stories that had been read to them - whether they wrote it in words, or drew it in pictures. And the kids that had the extra music classes also were quicker at learning how to read……

© Karl S. Kruszelnicki Pty Ltd 2003.

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