“Music has an incredible influence over people,” said Frank Degler, a world-renowned musician and musical prodigy – at age 3 he was playing the piano. “We’ve known this for decades. There is a direct correlation between music education and learning ability.”
Think of the ABC’s, the alphabet would be more challenging for children to learn if it wasn’t put to a tune.
“Music enlightens the cerebral matter to excite it and helps them learn,” Degler said.
Multiple music studies have demonstrated that listening to music, particularly classical pieces, while working and studying can lead to an increased productivity and memory of the information. Many teachers with a music education degree understand this teaching and practice this in their curriculum.This was theorized in a report known as the “Mozart Study,” suggesting that listening to Mozart has a beneficial effect on mental development.
The impact of music in a person’s life is so important that in fall 2009 the White House hosted classical music workshops because of the Obama’s strong belief that music plays a vital role in a child’s education.
According to a White House press release, First Lady Obama believes that through music, "You'll learn that if you believe in yourself and put in your best effort, that there's nothing you can't achieve; and those aren't just lessons about music, these are really lessons about life."
Degler suggests starting children on the classics before moving on to current pieces of music. Even classic nursery rhymes and songs can help a child’s development of rhythm, rhyming and melody.
“If you start exposing them at a young age they will gain an appreciation for the music while learning,” said Degler. “It’s linking verbalization skills, word skills, thoughts and ideas to music and learning how to recognize hymns and melodies, it’s a wonderful process.”
Keeping music education in schools is thought, by experts, to be a vital component of a well-rounded education.
“The arts can no longer be treated as a frill,” U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan's remarked at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum. “The truth is that, in the information age, a well-rounded curriculum is not a luxury but a necessity.”
Denying children music denies them multiple benefits, said Degler. “Not just educationally, but pleasurable benefits too,” he said.
“If you think about it, you get home from a stressful day, you might turn on some music,” said Degler. Whether Broadway tunes, classical interludes or contemporary worship music, it can all help energize your brain, rejuvenating your spirit.
So yes, introduce your children to music, said Degler. “Even a simple beat, there are so many ways of being creative and each person being different, music can be appreciated by everybody.”
Another aspect of music that adds to its significance is that it can tell a story. The pace of the music, the crescendos and instruments used in a piece can draw a person to tears, laughter, enthusiasm or even increase anticipation.
“There is such an incredible emotional attachment to music,” said Degler, who added that when music is paired with a visual message, it can be a very powerful piece of communication.
“Think of the silent films,” he said. No words were needed because the music was paired with a visual to tell a story.
“When you listen to the National Anthem, just the power of that piece and when you combine that with pictures, of a war scene or heroes, the suffering, now we have tied a powerful emotion with a thought, a visual perception, it’s an incredible way to communicate,” Degler said.
The bottom line? Without music, the world would be a lonely place, lacking some of the emotional impact and comfort that only music can provide. And if music can impact your child’s education, then all the more reason to start playing the tunes, now.
Sources: www.whitehouse.gov; www.ed.gov; Frank Degler, Lighthouse Music Production Studios, a music prodigy at age three, Degler became an accomplished and versatile musician playing eleven instruments. He continues to develop music education curriculum and provide selective private music lessons and finishing performance training for music professionals.
Budget-friendly ways to bring music into your child’s life
• Attend free outdoor concerts
• Check out your town’s local symphony
• Enjoy the local high school’s musical productions
• Borrow classical CD’s from the library
• Encourage your child to actively participate in school-related music opportunities
• Pick up a toy instrument at a garage sale and let your child explore the sounds it can make
• Support your child’s interest in music, cheering him/her along the way