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Don't under estimate importance of music

July 25, 2013
Q. My 3-year-old loves to sing and listen to music. Is she too young to enroll in a music class?

A. As early childhood educators prepare for a career in teaching, they learn the importance of incorporating music into the classroom. Music education is not only a graduation requirement for a degree in early childhood; it is also integrated into the State of Michigan licensing tules for child care centers. The value of music exposure during the early years sets the stage for success in the future for various reasons.

Nancy Takis, early childhood music educator consultant explains how early music education impacts children:

The importance of early music education should not be underestimated. It provides more than a simple break from the “serious” academics. Rather, music activates and engages areas of the brain untapped by mathematics, science and other disciplines. For very young children, singing is a means of learning language; even non-verbal children participate in rhythm and tempo activities.

They develop a sense of pitch and melody as well. They learn to express themselves through music, and they learn that music helps them express themselves. A correlation between music and math has long been understood, but there is an important relationship between music and reading also.

Young children who are learning to read and older children who have trouble reading make the visual and aural connection between the written word and the spoken word in a non-threatening choral reading environment. Stutterers do not stutter when they sing.

Music classes, music training, and music therapy have proven to be invaluable to all ages, from the very youngest of us to the elderly.

Benefits are emotional, psychological, intellectual and physical. Even hearing impaired individuals respond to the rhythms and tempos, as well as the vibrations of pitch.

Melodies help us commit ideas and concepts to memory.

The part of the brain that holds our music remains active in many of those suffering memory loss. Practicing an instrument strengthens hand-eye coordination and physical energy can be channeled and controlled in musical activities. Children who are fidgety or unfocused often settle down in music classes.

Music speaks when there are no words.

Assumption Nursery School’s summer youth camp is part of a pilot program under the direction of Kypros Markou, Wayne State University professor and director of orchestral studies. From July 29 through Aug. 9, students will be introduced to a variety of instruments and have vocal instruction for two weeks.

Sharp authored the article with Takis’ input.

Sharp is the director at Assumption Nursery School & Toddler Center and has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a minor in early childhood education. She can be reached at (586) 772-4477, Assumption Nursery School & Toddler Center.

Enriching communities through stronger families, the Family Center serves as the community’s hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. It is a non-profit organization founded to promote a deeper understanding of the role of parents and others in supporting our youth to become competent, caring and responsible community members.

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