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Raising a Music Lover Kids Thrive to Rhythms of Head and Heart

by Randy Kambic A

resounding chorus of research shows that the traditional three R’s of essential early education should also encompass an M for music. Playing instruments prior to and during school years can put children on a tuneful path to lifelong benefi ts.

Helpful Resources A 2015 study by the National Association for Music Education (nafme. org) shows that youngsters harboring an early appreciation for music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers. The research also revealed that schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2 percent graduation rate and 93.9

percent attendance rate compared to others averaging 72.9 and 84.9 percent, respectively. A recent study by the Children’s Music

Workshop (ChildrensMusicWorkshop. com), which provides instructional programming for more than 25 Los Angeles-area public and private schools, cites a host of additional benefi ts. These highlight music education’s role in developing the part of the brain that processes language; improving spatial intelligence; thinking creatively; gaining empathy for people of other cultures; encouraging self-expression and teamwork through playing as a group; and achieving higher grades both in high school and on standardized tests. Higher institutes of learning are equally

involved. Boston’s Berklee College of Music ( offers majors

i in making it as a music professional, performance music and music therapy, plus postgraduate degrees. Its annual fi ve-week summer performance program in “Beantoi

p p

wn” furthers the skills of 1,000

U.S. and international children 12 years old and up. In addition to musical skills, “We see improvement in young people’s confi dence and persona,” says Oisin McAuley, director of summer programs. “It’s a truly formative experience.” In addition, The Berklee City Music online program serves high schools nationwide, assisted by alumni in some cities. It also awards scholarships for participation in the summer performance activities in Boston. The nonprofi t Young Americans

U o “ c

( organization, launched in 1992, operates its own college of performing arts in Corona, California, that fosters artistic, intellectual and personal growth for those working toward becoming performers or arts educators. Its International Music Outreach Tours have brought workshops to K through 12th grade students in nearly all 50 American states and 15 countries in Europe and Asia.

Starting Out “Don’t force children to play music. It’s better when they want to do it on their own. Having instruments around the house can make it easier,” suggests Dayna Martin, a life coach and author of Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun, near North Conway, New Hampshire. Learning music can also decrease math phobia, similar to the way in which children that love to cook and follow recipes learn math, she points out, because math and music are undeniably interconnected.


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