Feed the Brain Music

Do you ever encounter something you knew all along and then read it in an article and suddenly it all makes sense?

This happened to me recently when reading a back copy of International Arts Manager magazine, titled Study in children’s music training has enormous implications.

The article carries forward the ongoing debate about the importance of music education in schools, a subject very close to my heart and indeed I was part of a consortium some years ago with the late Michael Kamen, Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd Webber together we lobbied the then UK government of the day to increase funding for music education – we succeeded and the budget was increased by £332 million.

The article goes on to report about recent research carried out at York University in Toronto in which it is found that “the verbal intelligence of four to six-years-olds rises after just one month of musical training”. I have always believed musical education encourages cross disciplinary benefits and this confirms my lifetime thoughts.

The cognitive improvement is apparently demonstrated clearly in response to musical training. Although I do not have children my experiences over the years leave me to believe this kind of research is true and many children are missing out. I personally feel the discipline gained from music education and indeed arts in general have enormous benefits in so many areas. Team work is definitely one area that is noticeably improved in children who have worked together as part of an orchestra.

I grew up in a family where we gathered socially to enjoy playing music and listening to music. As a child none of us were perceived as particularly gifted it was just a great family social gathering enjoyed by every age group. Encouragement from older members of the family to the youngsters was always strong and supportive. This attitude was also prevalant throughout my school years and I honestly believe it became the foundation of good communication and confidence in each of us to develop our skills and enabled us to hold our own amongst others.

Children demonstrate interests and curiosity in music when they are very young. From babies learning to create sounds from striking saucepan lids to a host of toddlers on YouTube who love having a go at playing all manner of instruments and keyboards and then it appears these traits are somehow eroded when they enter school. I am frequently told about the lack of funding, lack of teachers, lack of space etc. which means parents are left with the dilemma of covering the cost of private tuition for their children, this should simply not be the case especially where children are concerned.

Am I being really old fashioned?
Are we missing a trick?
Research suggests we are – what do you think?

Image: Philipe Put (licence: CC BY-ND 2.0)

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