Early childhood education is known by academics, teachers and parents alike to be an important aspect of any child’s life. The opportunity to play, have fun and explore – all the while learning valuable lessons about life and acquiring knowledge that they will use their entire life – is one that all children should have, and yet it is all too common around the world that this pivotal time for learning is squandered on video games, screen time and television.
While screens and everyone’s favourite nanny – the television – can have their place in childhood learning (i.e. educational games and interesting, kid friendly documentaries or cartoons), there is no better way for kids to learn about the world around them than by jumping in with both feet and exploring nature, arts, history and importantly - music.
Musical Education can unlock a child’s potential
Often thought of as a vital part of a well rounded education, music education has long been lauded for its ability to unlock and utilise parts of the brain associated with mathematics, spacial reasoning, art and design. In a recent Time Magazine article the myriad benefits of childhood music education are covered in depth, as “science has shown that when children learn to play music, their brains begin to hear and process sounds… and that can aid in literacy, which can translate into improved academic results for kids.”
Not only can learning to play and read music help children excel in other aspects of their academic life, it can also give them the confidence they need to succeed in the adult world. A child who regularly practices their musical instrument can learn dedication, perseverance and teamwork, skills that will help them to transition into the world beyond school and into university and beyond.
Music Lessons: still benefiting the rich more than the poor
Sadly, there is still a definite class gap when it comes to how many children receive the benefits of early childhood music education. The Guardian has described music education as being “often still the preserve of the rich… with the cost of learning to play and taking lessons a "major barrier." It seems that, yet again, the children of the rich and middle classes are given valuable advantages that only money can buy, leaving their working class counterparts in the dust academically.
Private tutors, after school lessons, sheet music and the instrument itself can all be prohibitively expensive for those parents who are struggling to make ends meet, and children from disadvantaged backgrounds are the ones who suffer. They are not only denied the chance to learn a new skill that may provide them with years of joy and fulfillment; they may also be missing out on scholarships, opportunities and other important educational advantages.
Free music education is so important for everyone in the UK – all children should be given equal opportunities to enjoy, explore and learn to play an instrument and read music. Supporting free music education for all children is something that we can all get behind.