Canadian Music Trade - August/September 2017 - Page 26

MORE THAN JUST FUN Music Isn’t Just Recreation – IT’S EDUCATION By Nancy Miller W hen kids are involved in music, they are learning – and not just how to keep a beat. Everything from be- haviour to concentration can benefit from exposure to and involvement with music. That’s a fact. But you already know this if you’ve ever performed for children. You actually wit- ness their minds and memories working as you watch. So why is it that in Canada and the U.S., music programs in schools are crumbling? According to People for Education, an Ontario advocacy group that monitors and lobbies for better education, the num- ber of elementary schools that have full or part-time specialist music teachers has gone down from 58 to 43 per cent in the past nine years, with rural areas suf- fering more than urban. According to U.S. News, funding was cut in more than 80 per cent of American school districts between 2008 and 2014, and when funds are cut, the very first programs to go are usually music and art. But while funding and professional teaching sinks, the benefits 26 • CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE of music continue to be discussed and proliferated. The Royal Conservatory of Music believes in the benefits of early music education, noting that it speeds the development of speech and reading skills. It trains children to focus their attention for longer periods, and it helps children gain a sense of empathy for others. The conservatory’s Smart Start program uses music, supported by other art forms, to teach cogni- tive skills to young children. Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities that support us in our everyday activities. As the Royal Conservatory reports on its website, “Skills such as attention, memory, percep- tion, and cognitive flexibility are crucial both to daily tasks and special projects, and help us in activities as varied as reading, mathematics, planning, games, and socialization.” Another study by R. Upitis, Literacy and Nu- meracy Secretari ] ٙ\[ܙH]Y[K8'[YX[\X\Y\\][[[YH[H\\›YH]H^[HوXY][Y[[\URPP‘HH\ܝH[B܈YXZ]ۂ\[[و۝\[™[[Y[\H]H[܈\ ][YH]\XXX\˂ۛH LIHوHݚ[x&\›]\XXX\\H[\[\X\˂ݙ\Y[[܈]\Xœܘ[\[\\\B[[˂Y[H^\]\XYXKB[ۈ]][HYXXY[ۘ[][ۈ ۚ][ۋ