6% of American children want to be President but 13% want to be musicians. (Busch Entertainment Corporation)
It has been found that music can change behavior. The right kind can turn depression into joy, anger to calmness, hate to love, and fear to courage. Beautiful music has an effect on people and it can soothe and take away feelings of frustration and anger. Music definitely makes a difference in alleviating tension. (L. Clarke, 2006)
Music has the power to relax, energize, and motivate.
A study from the University of Wisconsin and the University of California at Irvine found that 3 and 4 year old children who had 8 months of musical instruction, including singing and keyboard lessons, scored 43% higher on IQ tests than those who received no music lessons.
Fetuses in the womb show measurable response to musical stimulation.
In the year 2000, 19 million children in the United States were under the age of 5. Of those children ages 4-5, over 6 million will be enrolled in daycare, an industry with some of the lowest paid workers in the United States.
When "Child Care", a public service campaign in Rochester, Minnesota, asked 800 children what they enjoyed most about their experience at daycare or in family childcare settings, over 40% said singing. Over 60% said playing musical instruments.---------
Over two decades ago researchers in the US began studying the link between learning 'to read music and play the piano', and ability in Math and Science. This led to a ten year UCLA study comparing results for young students taking music versus students taking computer classes. Students learning to read music and play the piano scored significantly higher on Math and Science assessments.
Researchers then went on to prove that learning to read music and play the piano has other cognitive benefits. Hong Kong university of China discovered that not only does the regimen of learning to read and play music increase the rate of learning new vocabulary, but it results in a permanent increase in the learning rate. If the music learning process stops, the increased capacity is retained. If the challenging music program starts again, the rate of learning increases further.
This makes sense. Consider that reading music requires the student to look at music notation (an abstract symbol set) and decode it. Playing music requires that decoded information to be used to guide ten fingers on the piano keyboard. The brain is operating challenging receptive and productive processes simultaneously, which is good exercise for the cerebral cortex, and it soon causes permanent changes in this important area of the brain.
One recent MIT study determined that the cerebral cortex of a concert pianist is enlarged by 30% on average compared to people that are considered intellectuals, but who did not have instrumental music education. Another CA study found that 75% of Silicon Valley CEO's had instrumental music education as a child.
There are several less-tangible, but important advantages to learning to read music and play an instrument. In one Chicago High School the dropout rate improved dramatically, two short years after a challenging music program was introduced to all students.
Cognitive specialists agree, people are designed to be musical, and to develop that ability is an important advantage, most significant if this is started at an early age. Musicians acknowledge an important spiritual and motivational side to music.
The combination of these benefits is very interesting when considering music learning as a treatment for various conditions that affect both learning and behaviour. Consider Autism, ADHD, or even brain trauma, stroke or aneurism. For these individuals, learning to read music and play the piano can be a very important source of successes, increasing rates of learning and improving behaviour.
Many of these studies involved large numbers of young children learning to play an instrument and clearly required special conditions. It's very difficult to implement a challenging, multi-year instrumental music program with a significant number of students because of the cost and space traditionally associated with instrumental programs. Traditional methods are simply too expensive to consider providing this beneficial development to all children at a particular school. As a result, normally 5-10 percent of the school population receives an instrumental music education.
Schools can deliver instrumental programs using the software at a fraction of the cost per student compared to traditional programs, while retaining the instructional objectives.
MusIQ Club software programs are effective, and are also very enjoyable. Children love to learn this way. Learning to read music and play an instrument is a long term challenge and teachers are an important part of the learning process. Adventus interactive software provides special feedback during practice that allows students to continue learning and developing skills, an advantage over traditional practice. Enjoying practice has a big effect on learning outcomes, even in the short term.
-Authored by Jim Mullen