by Redwan Hamzah • May 15, 2019
Most anyone enjoys music, be it through listening or playing an instrument. However, this almost universal interest has not stopped schools from avoiding putting resources into or even doing away with music education programmes. One key reason for this is in relation to leviathan subjects such as math and english – with the fear of negatively affecting exam results in such areas.
This is an unfounded fear, as music and the arts have been proven to be the bedrock of educational success, with compelling research done over the past two decades around the positive benefits of music-learning.
So why is music education in schools so important?
Develop Language and Reasoning
Students who have early musical training, start developing the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left-brain is better developed through the act of studying and learning music, and positive songs help to imprint desirable information on young minds.
Even in the case of performing with sheet music, musicians are constantly using their memory in order to execute pieces. This skill of memorization would serve students well, both while they are in the education system and beyond.
Learning music is akin to learning a craft, and when students desire to continually improve and create good work in their musical journey, they learn the value of craftsmanship and taking pride in one’s work – a value that can be applied to their other subjects of study.
Developing a practice around an instrument improves hand-eye coordination, and just like playing sports, students can improve their motor skills through playing music.
Sense of Achievement
Learning to play pieces of music can be challenging at times, and when students learn to overcome these challenges in a systematic way, it informs their sense of self-worth and also confidence in dealing with other challenges that may come their way.
Music is an enjoyable subject, which keeps students interested and engaged in school. Also, having students take part in summer music camps is a good and fun way for them to keep mentally sharp during their holidays. Studies show that student musicians are likely to stay in school, and achieve in other subjects.
Strength of Character
Music education can contribute greatly to intellectual development. With music as the fabric of our society, the act of studying and learning it can shape students’ character and abilities in very positive ways.
Studies have shown that in studying and being aware of music from other cultures and parts of the world, empathy is heightened in the learner. They also display higher self-esteem, with an increased ability to cope with anxiety.
Students develop their math and pattern-recognition skills through musical education, with the act of performing music offering repetition in a fun environment.
Musicians are able to detect meaningful and information-bearing elements in sounds, such as the emotional meaning behind a baby’s cry. Studying music increases a student’s auditory attention, improving their ability to pick out patterns from surrounding noise – this is a skillset that informs their way of being, and will have a far-reaching impact on their ability to cope with challenges in life.
Imagination and Intellectual Curiosity
With the introduction of music at a young age comes a positive attitude towards learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the human brain holistically and can further our sense of imagination. Music appreciation classes can hone students’ ability to discern and articulate complex issues with increased clarity.
Developing a practice around an instrument instills the value of discipline and hard-work. Students will learn how to consciously plan their free time, to be able to practice efficiently and consistently as they aim to get better at the instrument.
Music education has always proven to improve modes of thinking, with the abstraction of sound and the understanding that there is never just one right answer. Students will learn to think out of the box and start to think creatively in their daily lives.
Many music programmes, such as ones in the form of co-curricular activities, will see students coming together and collaborating as an ensemble or band. In these settings, listening skills and a sense of group commitment to a cause will be required in order to achieve the goal of playing music in harmony – resulting in students learning important lessons around teamwork and relationship management.
The study of music encourages the development of spatial intelligence, with students of music being able to perceive the world accurately and also form accurate mental images of what they see.
The act of performing involves many challenges such as anxiety and fear, brought about by factors such as stage fright. Developing a system to deal with such emotions in a calculated and prepared way will teach students how to take risks and deal with fear – qualities that will serve them well in fulfilling their own potential.
Preparation for the Future
Playing a musical instrument brings about pride and confidence in a learner. With the constant encouragement from teachers and parents, students will also be able to develop effective communication skills as they express their thoughts and ideas in an environment that encourages personal growth. This results in a positive cultivation of the student’s mind, body and spirit; this translates to quality-adaptable skill-sets that will be useful in any setting they may find themselves in.