Monday, 11 May 2015

Practicing Piano Helps Much More Than Just Musicianship

The overwhelmingly positive effects of music education on developing minds has been proven time and time again. Those with the power to control our children’s school curriculum must understand the importance of music in a child's growth. It is not a lofty, artsy ideology… it’s a fact! It’s a shame that one of the first things to get cut in schools with when budget problems arise is music, or other arts programs. This article does a good job of explaining why. Practicing Piano Helps Much More Than Just Musicianship Via Many parents have told nearly innumerable children that practicing builds character. Even though those children scoffed at their parents, their mothers and fathers had more on their side than just an old platitude. Recent research from the University of Vermont College of Medicine has shown substantial correlative evidence that studying piano, and, by extension, practicing, not only produces boosts in organizational and spatial reasoning skills but also reduces overall anxiety, aggression and other emotional problems. Many times, it is music, or other arts curriulca, that are cut first. Because such musical instruction helps build executive reasoning and helps focus children with cognitive disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, one would think that it would be front in center in almost every curriculum. Additionally, the United States Department of Education reports that fully 75 percent of American high-school students either do not study music at all or experience it rarely. All of these facts contribute even more to the sadness of the situation than otherwise because students who study music are also more socially adept than their peers who do not. Ever since the controversy surrounding the “Mozart effect” study by Rauscher et al., in 1993, scientists have sought correlation between music, its instruction and intelligence. The University of Vermont study, performed by 56-year-old psychiatrist James Hudziak, doesn’t show proof of number increases, such as, “Johnny’s IQ just went up 10 points because he played a Clementi sonatina.” Instead, it uses hard science to show actual physical changes in the brains of children who have studied music and then applied the children’s actual performances on spatial and organizational tests as bolstering data to the hypothesis that music instruction has beneficial intellectual and social effects. Hudziak said that the lack of formal music education in the lives of so many children in the U.S., juxtaposed with the data of his study, indicate the “… vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.” Abstract: Cortical Thickness Maturation and Duration of Music Training: Health-Promoting Activities Shape Brain Development

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