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Does Singing Help Develop Language Skills?

County Music recently ran a very exciting programme to develop language skills through singing. We worked with children in nursery and reception (ages 3-4) and alongside their teachers.  The children were put into small groups and taught songs and exercises.  These songs and exercises were very carefully chosen to develop their listening and visual skills as well as teaching them specific vowel and consonant sounds suggested by their teachers.

There is plenty of evidence to support the use of singing to develop language skills within children.  'Parents should sing to their children every day to avoid language problems developing in later life', according Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology.

Singing traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes to babies and infants before they learn to speak, is 'an essential precursor to later educational success and emotional wellbeing', argues Blythe. 'Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry the 'signature' melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child's ear, voice and brain for language.'    The Guardian Newspaper 2010

'Singing songs teaches children about how language is constructed. When you sing, words and phrases are slowed down and can be better understood by your baby. Singing regularly will help your baby to build up a vocabulary of sounds and words long before they can understand the meaning'.

 BBC CBeebies site 2014

The case for singing as the right approach to children with special needs is made by Dr. Michael Heggerty, an expert on literacy. 'How do teachers reach students with special needs that are included in their classroom? Music is a tool that is developmentally appropriate, facilitates language fluency, helps brain development and, above all else, is joyful’.  

 The Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Centre 2010

The first results from our Early Years Language Development programme are encouraging.  One of the many interesting observations was that the behaviour of the children in the singing sessions was different to that in the class situation.  Teaching staff were able to watch and really observe how the children formed their sounds.  The school has requested a continuation of the project and other schools are also interested in exploring the use of singing to develop language skills.  We intend to work closely with Teaching Schools in the area to offer training programmes for colleagues working with Early Years and we anticipate considerable demand.

Tags: Music, Music Education, Singing, Language, Skills

20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools

Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.


1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.

 

2. A mastery of memorization: Even when performing with sheet music, student musicians are constantly using their memory to perform. The skill of memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.

 

3. Students learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

 

4. Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Just like playing sports, children can develop motor skills when playing music.

 

5. A sense of achievement: Learning to play pieces of music on a new instrument can be a challenging, but achievable goal. Students who master even the smallest goal in music will be able to feel proud of their achievement.

 

6. Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

 

7. Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.

 

8. Emotional development: Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures They also tend to have higher self esteem and are better at coping with anxiety.

 

9. Students learn pattern recognition: Children can develop their math and pattern-recognition skills with the help of musical education. Playing music offers repetition in a fun format.

 

10. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.

 

11. Fine-tuned auditory skills: Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.

 

12. Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination.

 

13. Music can be relaxing: Students can fight stress by learning to play music. Soothing music is especially helpful in helping kids relax.

 

14. Musical instruments can teach discipline: Kids who learn to play an instrument can learn a valuable lesson in discipline. They will have to set time aside to practice and rise to the challenge of learning with discipline to master playing their instrument.

 

15. Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.

 

16. Development in creative thinking: Kids who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems by thinking outside the box and realizing that there may be more than one right answer.

 

17. Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

 

18. Kids can learn teamwork: Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie.

 

19. Responsible risk-taking: Performing a musical piece can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches kids how to take risks and deal with fear, which will help them become successful and reach their potential.

 

20. Better self-confidence: With encouragement from teachers and parents, students playing a musical instrument can build pride and confidence. Musical education is also likely to develop better communication for students.

- See more at: Music Mark Website

Tags: Music Education

Science Just Discovered Something Amazing About What Childhood Piano Lessons Did to You

If your parents forced you to practice your scales by saying it would "build character," they were onto something. The Washington Post reports that one of the largest scientific studies into music's effect on the brain has found something striking: Musical training doesn't just affect your musical ability — it provides tremendous benefits to children's emotional and behavioral maturation.

The study by the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that even those who never made it past nursery rhyme songs and do-re-mi's likely received some major developmental benefits just from playing. The study provides even more evidence as to why providing children with high-quality music education may be one of the most effective ways to ensure their success in life.

The study: James Hudziak and his colleagues analyzed the brain scans of 232 children ages 6 to 18, looking for relationships between cortical thickness and musical training. Previous studies the team had performed revealed that anxiety, depression, attention problems and aggression correspond with changes to cortical thickness. Hudziak and his team sought to discover whether a "positive activity" like musical training could affect the opposite changes in young minds.

"What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument," Hudziak told the Washington Post, "it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control."

The study found increased thickness in parts of the brain responsible for executive functioning, which includes working memory, attentional control and organizational skills. In short, music actually helped kids become more well-rounded. Not only that, they believe that musical training could serve as a powerful treatment of cognitive disorders like ADHD.

We need this sort of proof now more than ever. In presenting their findings, the authors reveal a terrifying truth about the American education system: Three-quarters of high school students "rarely or never" receive extracurricular lessons in the music or the arts. And that's depriving kids of way more than just knowing an instrument.

School systems that don't dedicate adequate time and resources to musical training are robbing their kids of so much. Prior research proves that learning music can help children develop spatiotemporal faculties, which then aid their ability to solve complex math. It can also help children improve their reading comprehension and verbal abilities, especially for those who speak English as a second language.

In these ways music can be a powerful tool in helping to close the achievement gaps that have plagued American schools for so long. It's even been shown that children who receive musical training in school also tend to be more civically engaged and maintain higher grade-point averages than children who don't. In short, musical education can address many of the systemic problems in American education.

Hudziak's research is an important addition to the field because it shows that music helps us become better people, too. One thing is clear: Learning music is one of the best things a person can do. Who knows — running scales may have changed your life. And it could change the lives of future generations too.

 

h/t Washington Post

Tags: Music Education, Development, Scales, Music Theory, Research

The Benefits of Music Education

By Laura Lewis Brown

Whether your child is the next Beyonce or more likely to sing her solos in the shower, she is bound to benefit from some form of music education. Research shows that learning the do-re-mis can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs.

 

More Than Just Music

Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. “A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-for-profit association that promotes the benefits of making music.

 

Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously. For instance, people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles, says Kenneth Guilmartin, cofounder of Music Together, an early childhood music development program for infants through kindergarteners that involves parents or caregivers in the classes.

“Music learning supports all learning. Not that Mozart makes you smarter, but it’s a very integrating, stimulating pastime or activity,” Guilmartin says.

 

Language Development

“When you look at children ages two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development, which is so important at that stage,” says Luehrisen. While children come into the world ready to decode sounds and words, music education helps enhance those natural abilities. “Growing up in a musically rich environment is often advantageous for children’s language development,” she says. But Luehrisen adds that those inborn capacities need to be “reinforced, practiced, celebrated,” which can be done at home or in a more formal music education setting.

According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds,” the group claims.

This relationship between music and language development is also socially advantageous to young children. “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”

 

Increased IQ

A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in a 2004 issue of Psychological Science, found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons. Schellenberg provided nine months of piano and voice lessons to a dozen six-year-olds, drama lessons (to see if exposure to arts in general versus just music had an effect) to a second group of six-year-olds, and no lessons to a third group. The children’s IQs were tested before entering the first grade, then again before entering the second grade.

Surprisingly, the children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups. The drama group didn’t have the same increase in IQ, but did experience increased social behavior benefits not seen in the music-only group.

 

The Brain Works Harder

Research indicates the brain of a musician, even a young one, works differently than that of a nonmusician. “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years.

In fact, a study led by Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, found changes in the brain images of children who underwent 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice. The students in the study who received music instruction had improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks, and brain imaging showed changes to the networks in the brain associated with those abilities, according to the Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research.

 

Spatial-Temporal Skills

Research has also found a causal link between music and spatial intelligence, which means that understanding music can help children visualize various elements that should go together, like they would do when solving a math problem.

“We have some pretty good data that music instruction does reliably improve spatial-temporal skills in children over time,” explains Pruett, who helped found the Performing Arts Medicine Association. These skills come into play in solving multistep problems one would encounter in architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming, and especially working with computers.

 

Improved Test Scores

A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts. Johnson compares the concentration that music training requires to the focus needed to perform well on a standardized test.

Aside from test score results, Johnson’s study highlights the positive effects that a quality music education can have on a young child’s success. Luehrisen explains this psychological phenomenon in two sentences: “Schools that have rigorous programs and high-quality music and arts teachers probably have high-quality teachers in other areas. If you have an environment where there are a lot of people doing creative, smart, great things, joyful things, even people who aren’t doing that have a tendency to go up and do better.”

And it doesn’t end there: along with better performance results on concentration-based tasks, music training can help with basic memory recall. “Formal training in music is also associated with other cognitive strengths such as verbal recall proficiency,” Pruett says. “People who have had formal musical training tend to be pretty good at remembering verbal information stored in memory.”

 

Being Musical

Music can improve your child’ abilities in learning and other nonmusic tasks, but it’s important to understand that music does not make one smarter. As Pruett explains, the many intrinsic benefits to music education include being disciplined, learning a skill, being part of the music world, managing performance, being part of something you can be proud of, and even struggling with a less than perfect teacher.

“It’s important not to oversell how smart music can make you,” Pruett says. “Music makes your kid interesting and happy, and smart will come later. It enriches his or her appetite for things that bring you pleasure and for the friends you meet.”

While parents may hope that enrolling their child in a music program will make her a better student, the primary reasons to provide your child with a musical education should be to help them become more musical, to appreciate all aspects of music, and to respect the process of learning an instrument or learning to sing, which is valuable on its own merit.

“There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake,” Rasmussen says. “The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music,” he adds. “Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”

Credit: Laura Lewis Brown, EarlyMorningMom.com

Tags: Music Education, Learning, Benefits, Brain, Musicians, Intelligence

Andrew Lloyd Webber challenges arts cuts

Andrew Lloyd Webber challenges arts cuts

Andrew Lloyd Webber says his new musical will challenge politicians to improve school music lesson funding.

School of Rock, based on the 2002 film, is about a group of schoolchildren who turn their lives around by entering a Battle of the Bands contest.

The young cast - aged between nine and 12 - all play their own instruments.

"At this time when there are cuts to music in schools, these are the kids that prove music is vital," Lord Lloyd-Webber told the BBC.

He said music "is a force for the good and empowers young people".

'Alienated from politics'

The composer, whose own foundation funds arts education programmes in the UK, said the government should rethink its "counter-productive" cuts.

"At a time when people are feeling alienated from politics, the arts cut right through that," he said.

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, who wrote the musical's book, picked up on the theme.

"One of the main purposes of the education years is to help children find out who they are and what they want to do, and the arts are one of the greatest means of allowing people to discover their identity," he said.

"It really is mad for the country to cut back on that and throw out a whole load of people from school who really haven't found out what they want to do."

Lord Lloyd-Webber and Lord Fellowes were speaking as they unveiled the cast for the West End transfer of School of Rock, which opened to enthusiastic reviews on Broadway last year, earning four Tony Award nominations.

The show, based on the Jack Black film, features three rotating casts of child actors, selected after a nationwide search earlier this year.

They range from experienced actors, drawn from the casts of Matilda and The Lion King, to complete newcomers.

Among them is Amelia Poggenpoel, from Formby, who made headlines last year when her singing reduced Shia LaBeouf to tears.

The 10-year-old approached LaBeouf at his #TouchMySoul exhibition in Liverpool and performed Who's Lovin' You by the Jackson Five. When she finished, the actor stood up and hugged her, sobbing: "You touched my soul."

She will play Shonelle in the musical, her first West End role after several appearances in Liverpool.

Amelia told the BBC she was living in a "School of Rock house" with other cast members, where tutors run lessons before and after rehearsals. The set up is "much better" than regular school, she added.

Other cast members include Isabelle Methven and Eva Trodd, both 11, who previously played Little Cosette in the West End production of Les Miserables, and Natasha Raphael, 10, who toured the UK in the role of Annie last year.

Toby Lee, an 11-year-old from Priors Marston who runs a successful YouTube channel showcasing his guitar skills, is one of three youngsters filling the role of Zack.

'Depth of talent'

The show revolves around failed rock star Dewey Finn who, in need of cash to pay his rent, fakes his credentials as a substitute teacher.

But what starts out as an excuse to get paid for slacking off turns into a life-affirming experience, as he prepares his pupils for a local battle of the bands.

"The reason I loved this story is every character in this story is somehow changed for the better through music," said Lord Lloyd-Webber, who first revealed he had bought the rights in 2013.

For the first time since Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971, he chose to premiere his new show in the US, principally because it has more relaxed child labour laws - meaning the production could have one permanent cast.

He previously expressed misgivings about bringing the show to London, saying he doubted whether he could find 39 children capable of pulling off the live musical elements of the show.

Instead, he said, "we could have found five bands to play".

"The depth of musical talent that we auditioned is something that I have to admit I didn't think we would find. I kind of feared they'd all be into their computers, but this proves that they aren't."

The role of Dewey Finn will be played in London by David Fynn, currently starring in US sitcom Undateable.

He said working with three rotating casts of children helped give the show spontaneity.

"It keeps me on my toes and, as a result, it helps them stay engaged."

The show begins previews at the New London Theatre on 24 October before opening night on 14 November.

Credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37307116

Tags: BBC, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Musicals, Music Education, Politics, Entertainment

Music lessons make children feel clever

Music lessons help boost academic results by convincing children that they can learn new skills and become intelligent, new research suggests.

Teenagers who are high achievers in music are more likely to think that you can learn to be clever and this has a positive impact on their school work.

Children who took fewer music lessons or did not learn music at all were inclined to have a more defeatist attitude, known as a fixed mindset, and did not make such fast academic progress.

Credit : Nicola Woolcock

Read the full article here 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/music-lessons-make-children-feel-clever-jtgr6vdkd

Tags: Music Lessons, Music Education, Research, The Times, Nicola Woolcock

How to improve the school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it

A Bradford primary school wants the world to know its newfound Sats success is down to giving all children up to six hours of music a week

Abiha Nasir, aged nine, walks quietly into the small classroom, takes a seat, adjusts her hijab and picks up the drumsticks. A shy smile spreads across her face as she begins to play.

She was just five when she turned up at Feversham primary academy’s after-school clubs, leaving teachers astounded by her musical ability and how her confidence grew with an instrument in hand. Last year, Abiha successfully auditioned for Bradford’s gifted and talented music programme for primary school children, the first Muslim girl to do so. The assessor recorded only one word in her notes: “Wow!”

Abiha’s teachers say her talent might have gone unspotted in many schools, where subjects such as music and art are being squeezed out by pressure to reach Sats targets and climb league tables.

But at Feversham, the headteacher, Naveed Idrees, has embedded music, drama and art into every part of the school day, with up to six hours of music a week for every child, and with remarkable results. Seven years ago Feversham was in special measures and making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Today it is rated “good” by Ofsted and is in the top 10% nationally for pupil progress in reading, writing and maths, according to the most recent data. In 2011, the school was 3.2 percentage points behind the national average in English. This year 74% of its pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, against a national average of 53%. It is 7.1 points above the average for reading and 3.4 above for writing. In maths, the school was 2.4 points behind the national average in 2011 and is now 6.5 above it. Its results for disadvantaged pupils are well above average.

Continue reading on Guardian.com

Tags: Music Education, Guardian.com, Stats, Education, Success, Primary, Schools,

Creative subjects being squeezed, schools tell BBC

Creative subjects being squeezed, schools tell BBC

Creative subjects being squeezed, schools tell BBC

 

Photo credit: BBC

Creative arts subjects are being cut back in many secondary schools in England, a BBC survey suggests.

More than 1,200 schools provided information - over 40% of secondary schools.

Of the schools that responded, nine in every 10 said they had cut back on lesson time, staff or facilities in at least one creative arts subject.

The government says increasing teaching of academic subjects is a priority - though not at the expense of arts.

However, schools told the BBC that the increased emphasis on core academic subjects, together with funding pressures, were the most common reasons for cutting back on resources for creative subjects.

Arts and creativity 'squeezed out of schools'

Music removed from school's curriculum

Music 'could face extinction' in secondary schools

The data provides an up-to-date snapshot of decisions being made in secondary schools.

The findings suggest music, art and drama, as well as design and technology are all being squeezed.

Of the schools responding, four in 10 were spending less money on facilities, more than three out of 10 had reduced timetabled lessons, and some reported having fewer specialist staff.

In both art and music, one out of 10 schools said it was increasingly relying on voluntary donations by parents.

Extra-curricular clubs were also being cut back in a similar proportion of schools responding.

Jez Bennett, a musician and head teacher of Elizabeth Woodville school, in Northamptonshire, said: "I've had to make some decisions about whether I can afford to run certain classes, and I know that there are schools that have cut GCSEs in art, music, drama, photography."

Continue reading http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-42862996

Tags: Music Education, BBC, Creative Provision, Schools, Education, Branwen Jeffreys

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