Recently, I was asked to write a blog post about the importance of music education in the lives of young children. This should have been a pretty easy topic for me since I’m an early childhood music educator, but I struggled. Every day I am immersed in high quality music education for children as young as 3 months. I see the positive impacts of music on children’s lives day in and day out. I could simply list pieces of evidence and statistics about children and music, but that doesn’t seem to do enough justice to explain how vital music education actually is to a young person.
I’m fortunate to work at an amazing community music school – the Thurnauer School of Music – where every day I see children explore and grow as budding musicians. I see babies smile and coo when they hear their favorite song sung, and slowly go to sleep as we sing our departing lullaby. I see three year olds giggle uncontrollably when we sing “Pop, Goes the Weasel” and seven year olds fill with amazement when they realize they can write out the rhythm of a piece of music just by listening to it. Have you ever seen multiple children burst out of their instrumental lesson beaming and talking at the top of their lungs about a new piece they just learned? I see that every day.
I see joy.
And that’s the most important point I can make about the importance of music education – music brings children joy.
When a toddler is banging on a drum with their classmates and feels the impact that their little body has on creating sound, that’s joy. When a child learns their first piece on the violin and can’t wait to play it for all their friends, that’s joy. When children raise their voices together to sing a piece whose words and melody is so beautiful they can’t stop singing it, that’s joy. The other day I watched one of our chamber groups rehearse and when they began to play too fast, they stopped and smiled, encouraging each other to try again.
Music meets the needs of children. It’s active and inspiring. It’s full of rhythm and language, opportunities for independence, repetition, consistency and order.
Music is about connection, beauty, and joy. Children who are given the opportunity to experience music and joy early in their life become happier, productive, and empathetic human beings. And that’s just what the world needs.
Director, Early Childhood Music