On June 28, students from the University of Delaware, Sarah Kutash and Andrew McCutchon, traveled to Washington, DC to lobby for music education integration into public schools. This is a major step in moving music education to the forefront of political discussion.
Although providing quality access to music education is a priority for Berklee City Music and our Network members, the importance of integrating music into core curriculums in public schools is too often overlooked. Various studies by clinical professionals have been done to suggest that adding music to a child’s core academic studies would be beneficial.
Exposure to music is essential to a child’s development starting at a young age. According to a PBS.org article, The Benefits of Music Education, musical training helps with language development that takes place in children predominantly ages 2-9. The article cites research by the Children’s Music Workshop, “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with the processing of 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.”
Studies also suggest that children involved with music have more a larger growth of neural activity than those who are not. The article goes on to quote Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University. “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,” explains Rasmussen.
While music education does have many benefits, we are reminded to not “oversell” how smart music might make you. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician, highlights the fact that other than the scientific benefits of being involved with music, children will also learn “discipline, managing performing, being part of something you can be proud of, and even struggling with a less than perfect teacher.” As Pruett explains, “Music makes your kid interesting and happy, and smart will come later.”