Early Childhood Music Start 'em Early!
Ever heard someone tell you they’re “tone deaf”?Well, chances are they’re not, (the neurological disorder known as congenital amusia only occurs in about 4% of the population). What probably happened to them (or didn’t) was they weren’t introduced to music and its related skills early enough.
This doesn’t mean that they’re forever doomed to a world devoid of music however. I’ve had many so-called “tone deaf” students learn to “hear” music very well later in life. The key is the right process, learning what to pay attention to, and thorough and patient persistence. My experience in 20 plus years of teaching is clear: unless there is some neurological disability, anyone can learn.
Undeniably though, early exposure affects how a person interacts with music throughout life. The critical years - birth to 5 - are well known to fundamentally shape us in all dimensions, from personality to academics to sports – and music is no exception.
Music is a language, and that’s how it’s processed in the brain; a child learns intuitively because young brains are wired to learn in ways that are much harder for adults because of structural changes as the brain matures. So, starting early is the best way to ensure your child will best absorb music and the cognitive advantages it offers.
I’ve seen these effects first hand. Students who were in my early childhood music classes at 3 were able to learn quicker and retain more at 13. Exposure to basics like rhythm and its connection to movement, counting, pitch matching, fine motor skills, etc., all established a firm ground upon which to build more complex coordination down the road.
And it doesn’t stop there: For example, conductor Daniel Barenboim has created schools that emphasize general education THROUGH music as a medium for all subjects. For example, The Barenboim-Said school in Israel and the Palestinian territories plants seeds of shared experience that promise not only to change those young minds, but potentially the entire region by establishing a collaborative environment among members of a new generation. What a way to bring the healing power of music not only to individuals but also to an entire population.
I wonder if we can follow this model here. Imagine if every child was exposed to musical literacy and performance in a diverse environment from the very beginning! What sort of positive impact might that have on our society as a whole? Towards this lofty goal, I’m thrilled to announce that Whole Music LLC is offering early childhood music beginning this spring. I can’t think of a forum that better expresses “Music for the Whole Person”. And I sincerely hope to see you all there!