Dr. Susan Klein
AP English III Fourth Block
11 December 2014
Savannah has always had a love for music since she was big enough to make noise. She sings in the choir at her church every time the doors are open. But when she finally got to middle school and the opportunity came to sign up for the chorus, she thought it would just be singing. As it turned out, the middle school chorus had a lot more involved than the choir at church. The teacher taught her simple note values, how to read the notes on a staff, and even the solfege, or do re mi, that goes along with it. Having a music education influenced Savannah’s life in many ways. Recent studies have been conducted and what they all show is that learning music both in private and public settings can change a child's life. Music education is beneficial to children because it can create a lasting impact on their lives including intellectual and social aspects.
Playing and learning music takes a lot more than many people give it credit for. Constructing music requires more than just playing the instrument itself, it requires a child to tap into multiple skills at once. Kenneth Guilmartin, cofounder of Music Together, says that "people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles." Guilmartin also states that "Music learning supports all learning.” Research shows that learning music makes learning other subjects in school much easier to learn (Brown). In addition to this, education in music can amplify many skills that children use in other activities. Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, states that "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” (Brown).
One of the things that music education affects greatly, is the way the brain process information. According to Cory Turner, Neurons have a prominent role in controlling the information a persons brain takes in. Neurons use electrical pulses to communicate with each other when we receive new information through our ears eyes or skin. These brain waves can be measured with new technological advances. In a recent study at Northwestern University, Dr. Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, and her team broke down these waves into component parts to better understand how the brain responds to music and even speech. Music and speech have many things in common; pitch, timing, and timbre (Turner). Pitch being how high or how low a note is, timing is how fast the notes are played or in what rhythm, and timbre which is the character or tone of the sound of a note. Having an in-tune knowledge of music and being able to pick out certain sounds help people to be able to differentiate specific patterns in speech.
The brain of a musician works differently than that of a non musician. Dr Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, says that "There's some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have a 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." A study led by Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College, alongside Gottfried Schlaug, Professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, discovered changes in children's brains who received 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice. The changes were seen in the parts of the brain that have to do with sound discrimination and fine motor tasks (Brown). This is a clear indication that having even a small amount of instruction in music can be seen in a childs brain.
The way that underprivileged and under educated children’s brains react to music education is