WORDS: Elizabeth McCall, Learning and Community Projects Manager, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Growing up, some of my earliest memories revolve around music – singing in the car, singing at church and listening to classical music while we drove through wheat fields in the mid north.
Later on, I was lucky enough to learn the piano and to read music. While all of this was great fun, I didn’t realise the incredibly positive impact this music making was having on my brain.
There is an enormous body of research showing that participation in music making directly affects children’s developing nervous systems. Music is one of the few things that uses both sides of the brain and it is also a dynamic way for children to develop their language and maths skills.
At the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to make music a part of their childhood and, through our learning and community program, look at how we can support South Australian children from all backgrounds to participate in music making.
Teachers and Schools
From professional development workshops for teachers, to incursions in school, we are keen to support teachers in making music with their classes. Schools can also experience the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as part of our Festival of Learning at the Town Hall in June 2022.
Families can participate through concerts including Finders Keepers on 10 June and the Bush Concert on 18 July, both with opportunities to join in through singing.
Our Relaxed Concerts are specially designed for families with children with additional needs. With sensory friendly break out spaces, adjusted lighting and sound and AUSLAN interpretation, we’ve worked carefully to create an accessible concert.
Nurturing the creativity of regional students is important to us and regional schools can now take part in Silos and Symphonies, joining in composition workshops and creating a new piece for the orchestra, reflecting the stories that the students’ want to tell.
We are so excited to see the passion and creativity that young people bring to music and to be a part of nurturing the next generation of musicians.
TUNING IN TO WHY MUSIC EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT
Enhanced literacy skills
Evidence suggests the area of the brain controlling both musical ability and language comprehension are closely related. Music education requires students to recognise and repeat pitch, tone or enunciation of words. Especially in young children, music directly benefits the ability to learn words, speak them correctly, and process the many new sounds they hear from others.
Music is a vehicle for excellent memory skills. Through catchy melodies and a variety of sounds, music has a way of “sticking” with us and is a powerful tool for learning. When students learn to read music by sight, play the proper notes on their instrument and recall lyrics, this benefits the overall memory centre of the brain.
Music education promotes improved coordination, specifically hand-eye coordination and dexterity. This opportunity to grow motor skills is especially significant in younger children. Even a basic introduction to an instrument, such as hitting a triangle or learning a song on a recorder, can be beneficial.
Developing study habits
When children are exposed to proper music education, they learn powerful study habits. Mastering their specific musical craft takes a concerted effort, consistent practice and patience. These disciplined habits translate into other areas of study.
Music has no language barrier
Music transcends the limits of language, it’s something that brings people together regardless of ethnicity or background. Music also transcends academic barriers, all learners can be successful in music. Sometimes, students who struggle academically will soar in the arts.
Music education is an important aspect of providing children with a well-rounded education. When allowed to work in harmony with other subjects and areas of study, music helps children grow in self-esteem, build essential skills and prepare for bright futures!