Music and Learning: Building skills for a lifetime of learning!
Chipper playfully teaches children good character and academically relevant material through multi-sensory experiences. We often encourage reading a story then engaging in another activity which will reinforce the message. Crafts, physical movement, and music come together to provide a more resonating experience. Each song serves a purpose; music is inherently playful and the creativity that is required both on a professional and amateur level has implications far beyond the instrument in hand.
Nina Kraus, from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA), reports that musicians trained to hear sounds embedded in a rich network of melodies and harmonies exhibit both enhanced cognitive and sensory abilities that give them a distinct advantage for processing speech in challenging listening environments compared with non-musicians and leads to changes throughout the auditory system applicable to situations outside the musical realm. She writes, “This effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness.”
Further, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain. The study provides strong evidence that the years between ages six and eight are a “sensitive period” when musical training interacts with normal brain development to produce long-lasting changes in motor abilities and brain structure.
So what does that mean for us as parents?
- Advocate for music in the schools and support the efforts to help fund them. Every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have the opportunity to experience music and musical instruments as part of their regular curriculum.
- Introduce instruments at a young age. This may take multiple iterations until the perfect match is found.
- Broaden their musical landscape (and your own). Take them to an opera, a symphony, or ballet. Trust that their young minds are capable of comprehending and enjoying the complexity of sounds.
- Keep practicing. Remember that no one ever says they wish they hadn’t had lessons as a child, just that they wish they had “stuck with it.”
- Search locally. When looking for a teacher, consider your local community college and inquire about lessons from music students there. Often, they are much less expensive and perfect for beginning students.
Maybe, mom and dad did know best when they encouraged us to practice. And maybe, just maybe, we need to heed that advice with our own children. Let’s Go Chipper for Music this March!