I have written numerous times about my strong feeling about language immersion programs for children at a young age. Even though I have never written about it, I feel equally strongly about music being a part of an elementary school curriculum. Research suggests that music instruction in the form of learning to play and music theory has a huge benefit to cognitive development of children, even at a very young age. I have tended to write more about language immersion because the understanding of its benefits are less well understood and the practice is less widespread than music education.
Despite the relatively widespread acceptance of the benefits of music instruction, elementary school music programs are not ubiquitous. Some schools teach all students on the recorder. Others on percussion instruments. Most have ensemble groups (orchestras, jazz bands, etc) but the age at which children can start varies widely.
The Notebook reports that recent budgetary changes in the School District of Philadelphia will put music education programs in jeopardy. Let’s hope that is not the case. Our kids need the arts!
- Can Music Instruction Affect Children’s Cognitive Development? By Frances H. Rauscher Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education) and the ERIC Digest Version
- Edutopia: Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who’s Doing It Best: Art and music are key to student development, by Fran Smith
- Effects of Music Training on Brain and Cognitive Development in Under-Privileged 3- to 5-Year-Olds – Preliminary Results, by Helen Neville, Ph.D. et. al.