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The Importance of Children's Music Education

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Words: 2274 |

Pages: 5|

12 min read

Published: Jul 30, 2019

Words: 2274|Pages: 5|12 min read

Published: Jul 30, 2019

Music education is beneficial to children because it promotes stronger teamwork, gives a boost of self esteem, and creates smarter students. The first section of this essay will show how musicians have higher self-esteem and self confidence - which is helpful when in society of constant judgement. The next section will show how music education, or more specifically participating in orchestra, band or choir, strengthens the ability to easily work in a team. Then the last section shows how being a musician leads to excellence in academics and school-related activities - which is no surprise considering the level of intelligence required to understand music and it’s terms.

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First, participation in music creates high self-esteem. Dimitra Kokotsaki, teaching secondary music at the School of Education at the University of Durham, and Susan Hallam, author of 2001 novel The Power of Music, says, “Active engagement with music can… increase self-esteem in children of low economic status and increase social inclusion.” The study of music does this because children can express themselves through their instrument and relate to other musicians their age. “Research in Switzerland showed that increasing the amount of classroom music within the curriculum... [resulted in an] increase in social cohesion within class, greater self-reliance, better social adjustment and more positive attitudes in the children” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). When children can unite with their peers and adjust to social circumstances, they get a feeling of belonging which leads to the increase in their pride. “Participating in an ensemble enhanced feelings of self-achievement for the study’s participants, assisted individuals in overcoming challenges, built self-confidence and raised determination to make more effort to meet group expectations regarding standards of playing” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). When there are expectations to be met, it pushes the entire orchestra, band, or other musical group to work to their best ability. This can provide a sense of worth if grand improvements are made in their playing abilities.

High self-esteem through the practice of a musical instrument is very easily gained. “Learning to cooperate and exchange ideas for the achievement of a common goal were regarded highly by the participants and raised self-esteem and motivation to work harder to maintain and enhance group standards” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). When groups can come to a consensus and meet each other's standards, it raises self-esteem because the others are sure that they are listening to one another. “These habits are typical of music students and may generalize to other academic areas and social/ emotional aspects of life, contributing to higher self-esteem and success” (“Music Matters”). Music students have this success because skills in their music pour into other areas of their lives, usually granting good grades which can make them feel accomplished and positive. “This readiness may be due to the music majors’ discipline and focus developed via intense practice and performance routines prior to college” (“Music Matters”). This intense practice and readiness for college-level material almost guarantees a student of the arts acceptance to any college, also giving them a large sense of accomplishment and happiness.

Music students harness a sense positivity and mettle. According to Sari N. Harrar, a writer for Prevention specializing in health, science, and medicine, says, “...band and orchestra members were less likely than other kids to smoke, drink alcohol, or experiment with drugs”. The reasons for smoking and drinking alcohol are usually because of insecurities and since music students are less likely to do those activities, it indicates a sense of security and self-worth. Ken Petress, Professor Emeritus of Communication at the University of Maine, says, “...being able to perform musically... offer[s] the musician a significant boost in self-confidence, one that transfers into all of life's venues…”. This is true because when people master the skills necessary to perform music, it helps them feel accomplished. “32% indicated that participation in the group had enhanced their self-confidence” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). Not a significant number, but it shows the effects well enough. The benefits of music on an individual's self-esteem are clear.

Being a regularly performing musician benefits a child’s self-esteem. According to Will Dawson, a guitar teacher and employee at San Dimas Music and Arts, says, “...kids work hard and face up to criticism”. This helps their self-esteem because when kids can face criticism, it shows that they have enough self-worth to better their playing. With being a musician, “...children rebuild [their] personality” (Dawson). This means that they discover who they are and get to relate to their role models, perhaps - making them feel a strong sense of belonging. It also seems that, “...children become extroverts when they realize they have a talent” (Dawson). When anyone, and not just a student, realizes they have a talent, it makes them feel special - like they’re worth something. Not only does an education in music education aid self-esteem, but it also helps when it comes to teamwork.

Music education aids the ability to efficiently work in a team. “Particularly valued were learning to compromise, offering mutual support and encouragement, and learning to work effectively together as a team” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). Working in a team is valued when being a musician because of several group performances like orchestra, bands, quartets and many other types. “...the characteristics of musical groups may be particularly important, for instance, the need to co-operate in order to be able to produce a performance in real time, the inter-reliance which is a part of such a performance...” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). The teamwork in a band or orchestra is necessary for the product that all the musicians are there to better - a performance. In cases where there is a group of people performing together, such as a band or an orchestra, “...musicians have to work as a team for [the] performance...” (Petress). With that knowledge, musicians must work in a team for the performance in order to create the desired effects for the audience. The aspects of teamwork are improved when participating in music and musicians take the group much more seriously than most students.

Teamwork is easily mastered when a student has been involved in music education. “Not only musically, you're socially involved also... you were part of a group that 'made' music happen” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). In being part of a group, the effort involved in producing a wonderful performance is achieved when there is a sense of oneness - where everyone is comfortable with each other which makes it so much easier to cooperate. Since students become better team partners when having to play in an ensemble, most music directors, “...encourage their students to participate in a wide range of group music making” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). This group performing aids in a variety of skills used later in life and with these skills, students can find it easier to accomplish tasks effectively with others. Carolyn Phillips, former executive director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony in Connecticut, states that, “...all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing”. By doing these things, musicians learn dedication to the team. In a musical group, everyone has to participate, which is what makes musicians the best in that area.

Teamwork for musicians is an easy quality to master. “In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another” (Phillips). This is true because of all the students share music - which, when it is important to someone, is almost like sharing intimate secrets. “The orchestra environment is ideal for socialization and for the development of group work skills...” (“Orchestra Music Rocks”). These group skills will come in handy as an adult when it necessary to be able to perform group task for a job or such. Angela Kwan, writer for Parents Magazine, says, “Group classes require peer interaction and communication”. With the mastering of these skills, it takes almost no effort for orchestra members to make friends, get tasks done, and end up with a terrific concert or performance. The mastering of teamwork are important for many things in life, not including being a member of an orchestra.

Teamwork is stronger amongst students with an education in music. “Sitting in an ensemble, the chain is as strong as its weakest link” (Dawson). He says this because when artists are playing in a group, every section depends on each other to learn their parts - therefore mutual trust comes into a musician’s life at the earliest of moments. He also says that ensemble playing, “Builds a sense of comfort and family” (Dawson). When there is a situation where the musician works constantly with one group of people to produce quality work, everyone ends up relating to each other. There is something more to the aspect of teamwork when a person becomes a musician and it is that, “People relate to a team” (Dawson). People relate to a team, being musicians, because they are all passionate about the thing at hand - their music. Teamwork is not the only thing improved by an education in music; musicians are also notorious for doing better academically.

Music education also helps people excel in academics and other school-related activities. “Studies have shown that young children who take keyboard lessons have greater abstract reasoning abilities than their peers, and these abilities improve over time with sustained training in music” (“Music Matters”). Abstract reasoning helps children learn and improve their skills in math and science. “Musical training develops the region of the brain responsible for verbal memory—the recall and retention of spoken words—” (“Music Matters”). Skills in verbal memory help these music students to retain and be able to quickly recall information. “This readiness may be due to the music majors’ discipline and focus developed via intense practice and performance routines prior to college” (“Music Matters”). The discipline and focus developed not only helps the music student get into college, but leads to them successfully obtaining their degree and furthering their lives. Therefore, students who participate in music-related activities have more advantages.

Academics are improved through the education of music. “A study of 237 second graders by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that those who got music instruction scored 27% higher on a fractions test than those who lacked instruction” (Harrar). Why this happens is because the children with music instruction subconsciously do math all the time through simple thoughts like how many quarter notes are in one whole note. “...NELS study reports musically involved students receive more academic honors than do non-musically involved students” (Petress). With music students also receiving more honors than people who don’t participate, it is obvious that there is a connection there. “An activity that both increases intellectual development…” (Petress). Music education is said to aid intellectual development because of quick thinking and transitions that musicians must go through all the time just to play one song. The musician is advantaged when it comes to thinking skills.

Musicians seem to have an easier time with academic material that most children would have issues with. Some studies show, "...that an education in the arts makes better math and science students, enhances spatial intelligence in newborns, ... and [is] a compelling solution to teen violence" (Petress). Music does all this because of the ability that players have to quickly read and transition through sheet music - time signature changes in pieces being the main aid. “Neurological research is cited showing music education enhances abstract reasoning needed in learning math and science” (Petress). Musician’s have an easier time with these subjects than most children because they have an easier time memorizing - math and science being subjects where memorization is crucial. Eugenia Costa-Giomi, who is an associate professor in the Faculty of Music at McGill University of Quebec, Canada, states that, “...in general, musicians obtain higher scores in tests of spatial abilities than do subjects with no music training”. These are higher test scores are obtained because of the musician's ability to memorize formulas - a necessary math and science skill which is the reason for the higher scores - and transition from one topic to the next. Academics are easily aced when these students partake in music.

Children’s academic work improves when music becomes a part of the their lives. Since musicians have the patience it takes to learn an instrument, “...musicians can concentrate and are disciplined” (Dawson). Concentration and discipline lead to better studying habits and when a child studies more, chances are their grades in school will improve drastically. Also, “Being exposed to the amount of time it takes to learn a skill” (Dawson) helps musicians improve study habits. Since studying takes time to accurately complete, like practicing an instrument, a musician knows how to have patience when it comes to mastering skills and this is especially helpful for academic work. Musicians also, “...gain a better sense of what’s going on…” (Dawson) in their world. This ties in with concentration - which is an important skill for everyone. The improvement of academic work is definitely something looked at favorably by most adults for their students - a reason many parents put their children in band or orchestra.

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People educated in music are presented with a luxury that almost always makes them smarter, better at group work, and gives them the access to self-confidence that is necessary to have in a society like this. It is obvious that an education in music builds a child’s brain and makes them feel confident about themselves. What was not as obvious was the fact that music students are better at working in a team. The research here has demonstrated that there is clear advantage that musicians have in all aspects of life - not just academically.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Importance Of Children’s Music Education. (2019, July 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/childrens-music-education-is-it-important/
“The Importance Of Children’s Music Education.” GradesFixer, 10 Jul. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/childrens-music-education-is-it-important/
The Importance Of Children’s Music Education. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/childrens-music-education-is-it-important/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
The Importance Of Children’s Music Education [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jul 10 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/childrens-music-education-is-it-important/
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