A young child’s mind is a sponge.
We’re all well aware of that age-old analogy. While it’s an accessible comment often thrown around in casual conversation, the academics back it up.
There’s no time like early childhood for picking up new skills, acquiring knowledge, and learning lessons that can be carried all the way through life. Think for just a moment of all the things young children are exposed to for the first time. All the new stimuli that are processed. All the worldly schemas established. And so effortlessly. It’s pretty impressive.
While it sounds cognitively strenuous to you and me, children’s growth and development should largely be inspired by play, fun, and instinctive exploration. Ask the experts. Screens might have become every parent’s favourite nanny, but…
it’s important for children to connect with the world through nature, the arts, history and importantly, music.
You knew that was coming, right?
Music education carries the power to unlock a child’s full potential.
Despite how it seems, that isn’t a quote from a school-based fantasy novella. Rather, it’s a matter-of-fact reflection on the hugely positive influences #musiced can have. Let’s be honest, learning to play an instrument is often considered as an integral element of a well-rounded childhood. Music education has long been lauded for its ability to unlock and utilise parts of the brain associated with art and design, spatial awareness, and even mathematics.
In 2014, boffins at Northwestern University found endless benefits to music lessons in mainstream education. As children hear and process sounds, they develop cognitive skills that are transferable to Key Stage 1 and 2 literacy learning. In turn, children also achieved improved academic results.
Not only can learning to play and read music encourage children to excel in other areas of their academic life, it can also increase confidence levels.
Regular music practice teaches dedication, perseverance and teamwork, skills that help children capably transition into the world beyond school, through university, and beyond.
While the benefits for all are perfectly clear, there remains a shameful class gap in how and when children receive music education, and to what extent.
Although some of the most raw and successful compositions of the last century have been penned proudly by working-class musicians, that isn’t reflective of their access to music tuition. It’s quite common for parents to cite the extortionate costs of learning to play instruments as the main barrier between their children and music. Private tuition, after-school lessons, sheet music and instruments all equate to be prohibitively expensive for parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
And their children are the ones who suffer.
Not only are they denied the chance to learn a new skill that may provide them with years of joy and fulfilment, they could also be missing out on scholarship opportunities and other important educational advantages.
Shall we sing it together from the top…
Access to free music education for is important everyone in the UK
And beyond. But one thing at a time.
All children should be given equal opportunities to enjoy and learn musical instruments and read music, too! Supporting free music ed for all is a cause that we can definitely get behind.