The hidden benefits of teaching music in primary schools

I keep hearing that teaching music in primary schools proves to be one of the hardest subjects to approach. This is not surprising to me anymore, the amount of time spent in PGCE’s and other teaching courses learning about Maths, English and Science massively outways the amount of time spent learning about music. But teachers are still supposed to teach 30 children about a subject with their minimal experience. For individuals who have a background in music from childhood, this is fine. What about those that have never studied music since secondary school? 

The benefits of teaching music in primary school are apparent; it teaches the children about rhythm, lets them get creative & gives them a taste of being a musician. Some hidden benefits are less widely known, and these are some of the main reasons I believe it is a fundamental skill that should be taught confidently from the start of a child’s musical journey. 

Music is a critical factor in developing a child’s emotional development.

Compared to a group of children who had never studied music, children opened up to music had much higher empathy levels. Music can be a very emotional tool. We’ve all got that one song that brings back a specific memory. Music has been used to help dementia patients bring back memories they thought they had forgotten. Emotional Development is a near impossible thing for a teacher to teach, but one half an hour music activity a week has been shown to kick start this development. These children’s brains are still growing, bringing music into their lives can do wonders.

Music can help develop a child’s phonics and language skills.

Surprisingly, music can be linked closely to a child’s ability to process language’s sound structures. Children with a musical experience have proven to develop phonological awareness at a much faster rate than their peers without musical knowledge. This all stems from a child’s ability to understand rhythm, which can be taught effortlessly with music. This is most apparent with dyslexic children, who find it much easier to understand language’s rhythm when introduced via music. 

Teaching music in primary schools can develop a child’s memory.

Music increases a child’s memory drastically. For instance, when conducting a verbal long-term memory task, like remembering a word in a different language, the children will find it a lot easier to remember if it is sung rather than spoken. That’s the exact reason why tasks like learning the alphabet are always done via song! You’d never remember that if it were just an array of letters right? When children are exposed to musical activities from a young age, their memory tasks’ scores will usually be higher. This all stems down to music sessions developing the child’s hippocampus (the part of the brain used for memory and music).

And more…

There are plenty more parallels between music and a child’s overall development. Music increases a child’s attention, maths ability, cognitive development, intelligence, self-esteem and reading skills. So why aren’t primary teachers given more opportunity to develop their music skills during training? With this much input in the national curriculum as a whole, we really can impact children’s lives by opening them up to the power of music.

If you are a primary educator and want to learn more about teaching music in primary schools, why not check out our CPD courses? Join the Academy by clicking here, or heading to academy.themusicalme.com. CPD UK accredits our courses to ensure we provide the highest quality materials to reform your music lessons. For more information, email hello@themusicalme.com or give us a call on 0800 7565580.

Author avatar
Pete Jenkins
https://themusicalme.com
Co-Founder of The Musical Me. I want to do all I can to support teachers and assist in them reaching their full potential.

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