Jan 14, 2016

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The Importance of Music in Educational Development

Music is a massive part of peoples lives all over the world – Whether you are a singer, musician, or just someone that listens to music or radio regularly.

For anybody in the three categories above then the education/desire in music must have come from somewhere whether it was school, where you live, family or friends. It is often speculated that music does not play a substantial enough part in education, particularly when compared with the visual arts, despite its importance in educational development.

Over the past few years, there is no doubt that music has played a much bigger role in schools in both primary and secondary education and then also in college and universities. The extra-curricular activities offered by secondary schools at the current time are arguably the most varied they have ever been, and music plays a large part in the scheme of things, but the question is, do teachers/activity leaders and parents promote and encourage pupils enough 21dc0f1e-eb84-40a0-8186-5887cc07ea51to take part in music? Research has provided us with several different answers to this question. One study was based on evidence from inspections of 90 primary and 90 secondary schools from 2008 to 2011. In primary schools, one in three girls took part in extra music activities, compared with one in seven boys and in secondary schools only 14% of pupils took either extra singing or instrument lessons.

Another argument which has been brought up regularly is the amount of music actually played in music lessons especially in secondary education. The research stated that in some lessons, teachers or pupils did not play or sing a single note. According to reports, too much use was made of non-musical activities such as writing without any reference to musical sound. Too much time was spent talking about tasks without teachers actually demonstrating what was required musically, or allowing the pupils to get on with their music making.

Music is very important in early educational development and has a positive influence on children in pre-education and primary education. It has even been established that music affects the shape and development of the brain more noticeably than any other subject, including Maths. Children seem to experience much pleasure and joy listening to music, making music and moving to music. Research has shown that children who are actively involved with music (who play it or sing it regularly):

– Do better in reading and math when they start school
– Are better able to focus and control their bodies
– Play better with others and have higher self-esteem

Music education is also very important in secondary education, college and university as it provides great preparation for other academic areas. Taking part in different extra-curricular activities can also reduce stress, improve musical ability and is also a great way of meeting new people and learning in a less rigid context.

Music is academic – Research states that music trains the brain for higher thinking and enhances academic performance.
Music is healthy– Learning to sing and keep rhythm improves coordination and the air and wind power necessary to blow a flute, trumpet or saxophone promotes a healthy body.

Music is for life – Most people can’t play rugby, or football at 70 or 80 years of age but they can sing. And they can play piano or some other instrument. Music is a gift you can give your child that will last their entire lives.

You may think that you don’t have a musical bone in your body. Despite this, we say… if the opportunity and facilities are there then everyone has the ability to make music.

We offer songwriting courses for those either with a song idea in their head or a melody, lyrics and harmonies to work with, and anywhere in between. If you have no idea on where to start or what to do then why not come to the Beehouse Recording Studio and try out one of our fantastic songwriting courses/workshops.

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Jan 14, 2016

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Music As A Positive Avenue Towards Autism Therapy

Music As A Positive Avenue Towards Autism Therapy


Autism is a complex developmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These symptoms appear in the first 3 years of a child’s life. In addition to these symptoms, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can cause intellectual disabilities, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Although there are many challenges with autism, some children with ASD have excellent visual, music, math and art skills.

What is Music Therapy?

I am often asked the question, “What is Music Therapy?” This might occur at a professional event, social event or 6358614596527738711752945771_musiceven chatting with someone in line at the store. If I just gave the following answer, most people would be confused: “Music Therapy is a research-based health care profession that uses music to help clients reach their therapeutic goals.” Wait! What exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.

“Research based” points to the fact that standardized research on the effectiveness of music therapy is being done at many schools, hospitals and institutions throughout the world.

“Health care profession” means that music therapy is used to address various medical, psychological and developmental goals, and as a profession, it is similar to fields such as physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

Uses music to help clients reach their therapeutic goals,” means that music therapists are helping clients work on measurable goals that typically are found on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP). For example, a music therapist working with a child with autism might be addressing a social skill goal of improved turn taking. The music therapist can use musical activities that include turn taking with an instrument in order to address this goal in a fun and motivating way.

Autism and music therapy

Music therapy uses music interventions to help clients learn and improve developmental skills such as speech/communication, motor, behavioral and social skills. Research on the benefits of music therapy with children with autism has demonstrated the following:

  • Increased attention
  • Improved behavior
  • Decreased self-stimulation
  • Enhanced auditory processing
  • Improved cognitive functioning
  • Decreased agitation
  • Increased socialization
  • Improved verbal skills

The literature shows that most children with ASD respond positively to music. In addition, kids with ASD often show a heightened interest and response to music. It is for these reasons that music therapy should be considered when deciding on what course of autism therapy to take.

What Do Music Therapists Do?

Music therapists typically start with an initial consultation with the parents in order to learn more about the child’s strengths and challenges. For school-aged children, a music therapist usually reviews their IEP and connects with the team of educators and therapists who work with the child. A music therapist will design a treatment plan with therapeutic goals after observing the child and assessing their behavioral, emotional, psychosocial, cognitive, academic, communication, perception, sensory-motor and musical skills. From here the work and the play begins and the music therapist will use musical interventions to address the treatment plan goals.

Music therapists will continue to adapt their approach to the strengths and challenges of the child and will document client responses, conduct ongoing evaluations of progress, and make recommendations. Music therapists will collaborate and consult with the parents and autism therapy team members so that others can generalize the gains achieved in music therapy. Music therapists can also offer excellent music-based special education resources to the treatment team.

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