Feeling strongly that the study of choral music was beneficial for my children, I wanted to see what supportive evidence was out there. So I Googled, “Why should children study choral music?” These were a few sites that caught my eye:
The Central Coast Children’s Choir web page listed a good number of benefits. I liked what I saw, but I wanted more . . . so I ventured to the Chorister’s Guild, which not only had some information to answer my question, but some helpful suggestions. Still not satisfied I had learned enough, I gathered some interesting insights on the Classics for Kids website. I’m sure there is more out there, but here’s what I learned:
First some benefits:
- Music is Science, and is exact and specific. This is comforting to my children because it helps them to make sense of the chaotic, ever changing world around them. I think it is safe to say the music brings them peace.
- Music is Mathematical with its divisions of time into fractions. Who couldn’t use more math practice? Learning a piece of music with its various dynamics is like deciphering a puzzle. It’s great brain exercise, as the mind figures out how all the parts work together to create the final piece.
- Music is History; it reflects the environments and cultures from the time and place it was created. Any time we study the arts of a particular time period, we gain understanding and empathy for others.
- Music is a Foreign Language, using symbols to represent ideas. And lyrics are often sung in foreign languages. My children have sung songs in Japanese, German, Russian, Spanish, Navajo and French, to name a few.
- Music is Physical: it requires good posture, proper breathing, coordination, and muscle control. The body and mind, then, work together, responding to sound as it enters through the ears, interpreting that sound with the mind, and producing the notes their eyes see.
- Music is Critical Thinking. It provides the opportunity to develop insight and requires thought to understand the lyrics and create the music’s dynamics.
- Music is Emotional and it is Art: It involves all of our being. The child enters a creative zone as he focuses intently and puts forth concentrated effort, making it a good stress release. The musician has a passionate, whole body experience. And she gives a performance that serves self and the community as it heightens the life experience for both. Let’s just say, music is joy.
The benefits go deeper
As you can see, the benefits go far beyond musical skill. The experience enriches many facets of a child’s life and opens doors to many other skills.
- Studies prove that participation in choir, band, and orchestra raises student IQ and improves the ability to think and reason. The students also have higher SAT scores. And the longer students participate in musical programs, the greater the impact on their learning.
- Music performance uses almost every part of the brain because a person must synthesize an array of skills and concepts.
- The choral setting provides emotional and social growth. The individual and team work required provide members an understanding of self and others. This also translates to success in the child’s future workplace.
- Students learn to make good judgments.
- They learn that problems have multiple solutions; they do the problem solving and they realize there are unanticipated solutions to be discovered.
- They learn to say poetically what cannot be communicated with standard methods.
- Children learn what’s important. They learn to dig into the details, and then step back and get the big picture as well.