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Read the digital editionNovember/December 2014

Education Matters

Hitting the Right Note

August 1st, 2010

By: Heather Razaghi

Yesterday I watched my one-year-old daughter dance along to the music for the first time ever. It was exciting to watch her enjoy music in that way. She has already attended many music classes and I know that she enjoys it. It’s amazing to see that joy on her face and to know that music is a great tool to help her grow and develop.

I think all parents have had a moment like this when they see there child enjoying music, dancing, singing or playing an instrument. However, you may be surprised to learn just how beneficial music can be to their development and overall well-being. For many years research has shown us that music education raises IQ and fosters higher levels of achievement in mathematics and sciences. More recent studies have shown that early music education affects children in many other amazing ways.

            In a 2006 study, researchers at McMaster University found that children who had participated in music classes for just one year had higher levels of brain activity when tested. This led them to conclude that the brains of these children were actually functioning on a higher level and were being ‘wired-up’ differently than those children who did not participate in the music classes. They also observed better memory skills, higher levels of literacy, better listening skills, and higher IQs.

Music can help children intellectually, but let me tell you about some other ways that music can benefit our children. Making music together in a group setting creates a sense of connection that is rare in our current society. Bonding and feeling like ‘part of a group’ is joyful for a child and children are drawn to learning in a pleasant and joyful environment.

Music can also help our children to absorb and retain information more easily. In a 1997 study University of Chicago researchers found that we learn and retain information better when it is attached to an emotion and action. Therefore, if children are moving and being stimulated emotionally, they will actually learn and retain information more easily. What better way to learn than in a music class! In fact, I bet that many of us have used music as a learning tool; do you remember singing your ABCs?

From nursery rhymes to classical, rock, country or pop, music is also one of the best ways we learn about the human experience, making it meaningful and important to us. Music teaches us compassion. Children can learn and be inspired by music because it reveals to them things about the world that they may not understand using words alone. Rhythm and music carry a beat that can reflect a multitude of emotions, interpreted by child and adult alike.

I have seen with my own eyes the tremendous effect making music can have upon babies and children. Watching mothers and fathers bond with their little ones, while they sing to them or share a rhyme is always a precious sight. I have seen children as young as ten months tapping along with the beat on their rhythm sticks and in watching my own little girl dance I am convinced that music is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.

 

Heather Razaghi is the owner of Heather’s Musical Garden/ Licensed Musikgarten Teacher.

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