Music is more than just an engaging subject for young children in schools. Research conducted by the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) at the University of Southern California has recently demonstrated that exposure to music and music education accelerates brain development in young children, in the areas responsible for language development, reading skill and speech perception.
Music is fundamental to language development in babies too, who don’t understand any language during their very early years, but their Music Processing Network is working overtime to gain meaning from language, even before they have learned and understood the language.
Although teachers understand the importance of catering to students’ natural ways of learning and brain development, it appears the power of music to exercise and develop young childrens’ minds is being overlooked due to outdated research on the value of music in education and a lack of teacher training in this area.
A 10 year study involving 25,000 students showed that music-making improves test scores in standardised tests, as well as in reading proficiency exams (Catterall, 1997). Reflecting on this and the scientific research being conducted on music and the brain in recent years, it is vital that schools begin to implement music education into their classrooms more readily, to improve students’ literacies skills and standardised test results.
Cross curricular/integrated pedagogy is one way teachers can provide quality learning experiences that harness the benefits of music education and literacy. By encouraging and developing students’ cross curricular learning experiences, teachers can support their schemes of meaning-making to broaden and deepen their understanding of the subjects in focus, and engage them in seeking, acquiring and using knowledge in as close to a real world setting as possible. In this way, teachers can harness the benefits of music and music education for brain and literacy development, while at the same time providing integrated pedagogies that work within what is described by scholars as the “crowded curriculum”.
New online education companies, such as Yibidy: Creative Classroom Solutions, are well aware of the latest research and pedagogy associated with music, music education, brain development and cross curricular/integrated pedagogy, and are leading the way in contemporary teacher training within Arts education and cross curricular/integrated learning.