- Why is learning music in school so important?
- Why is learning music beneficial for neurodiverse children?
- What are the issues with music funding in schools?
Nearly all of us enjoy listening to, playing or just understanding the power of music. Despite this, year on year funding cuts to music in schools means that fewer children have access to great music programmes than ever before. Let us talk you through just some of the reasons why learning music (and just being around it) in school is so important for children.
Why is learning music in school so important?
Academic rigour in schools is at its highest; excellent teaching coupled with intense standardised testing means that students are spending plenty of time fine-tuning their education ready for the future. But what about music? Let us talk you through some of the benefits.
Students learn pattern recognition
Do you want your child to have a larger vocabulary and enhanced reading comprehension skills? Studies show that consistent music education improves both areas. How? By directly benefiting the ability to learn words and process new sounds regularly.
With the continuing added stress of exams, learning (and listening to) music improves students’ study skills and their mental health.
Learning music fosters teamwork
Apart from all these skills associated with learning music, simply participating in a musical space builds valuable social skills. The music room is a very different environment to the ordinary classroom. Children are required to follow a different set of rules in order to be considerate and part of a musical team.
We spoke to music teacher Charlie, who says that;
“It’s what you learn between the notes… the social bonding in music groups is akin to times we all sat together around the campfire and shared together.”
If children are lucky enough to join a choir, band or music group whilst in school, they’ll develop their skills in compassion and patience. It builds a huge amount of camaraderie between students and their peers.
Music empowers children
Ever sang as part of a school choir? Played in the orchestra? Joined in for the school musical at the end of the year? These are some of our best school memories; times which made us feel like we were a part of something valuable and important.
Music teacher Dan says that music in schools;
“Gives students an opportunity to have meaningful experiences to connect with others… self-expression gives them a sense of purpose. Being involved in the musical community at school is inclusive, and gives students a chance to contribute their talents and grow a love of performing. They’ll feel all the more confident at the end!”
Why is learning music so important for neurodiverse children?
An education that includes music is a well-rounded one, and this is especially important for students who are neurodiverse. Amongst many other difficulties, having ADHD leads to an increased amount of difficulties whilst learning, such as having an inability to focus due to brain overload.
Because learning music strengthens your hand-eye coordination (motor skills), students with ADHD (who often struggle with restlessness and having extra nervous energy) can be channelled into an instrument. It’s soothing and relaxing, too.
There are emerging studies such as this one which indicate that whilst learning and playing music, typical ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are lessened overall. Reasons for this are plenty, but in large part could be to do with the amount of focus required during music learning and making. So why aren’t we integrating music into education more?
What are the issues with music funding in schools?
Leaders in music such as Andrew Llloyd Webber say that whilst some music funding in schools has been welcomed, it is simply not enough. His foundation alone has raised and donated between hundreds of thousands of pounds to millions for organisations like Misst (who aim to transform young people’s lives through high-quality music education).
We know that it’s more than donating some instruments to music departments; it’s about having enough qualified, full-time, supported music teachers to grow a thriving music department for all students within a school.
Dan says that “building a music culture in schools is so important for everyone to be able to partake in and enjoy it.” This is true of the composers, the musicians, the stage crew and the audience; everyone has a part to play.
If nothing else, when children learn and play music it’s a chance for them to be creative and imaginative, and take a joyful break from their usual demands and to be a part of something bigger.