Posted by : Posted on : 26-Jun-2019

26 June 2019

Music education for children proven to enhance all round learning

Last year I raised the idea via the media of getting a youth orchestra off the ground in the Solomon Islands but the idea didn�t develop with little local interest seemingly being shown.

I turned to getting help for the Piano Association of Solomon Island (PASI) and was greatly encouraged with the support I received from the United Kingdom by the Dionysus Ensemble, a virtuosic chamber ensemble with a string quartet at its core closely connected with the Commonwealth Institute in London.

Since that time Dionysus Ensemble has raised considerable money via their musical concerts to be able to travel to Honiara and help PASI.

Currently, the Ensemble is running a project which is aimed at (Quote)

�Providing expert instrumental teaching for the children�currently studying�as part of PASI, and culminate in a showcase concert at the end of the project where they perform alongside internationally experienced professional players.�

��We will also work with local teachers and parents to share our teaching expertise so that they will have a wider range of techniques and resources available to encourage and enthuse�the children�going forward.

��By giving the adults�a greater repertoire of practice�techniques�and study materials to draw on, there will be longevity for the children�after the project as they will get more experienced help in between lessons.

�This project could bring such an exciting and invaluable range of experiences and opportunities to all involved�in PASI which would really spur them on, as well as hopefully working to�put in place the beginnings�of more regular and structured music tuition.�

To give emphasis to the value of children learning music, I was sent the following information by Dionysus Ensemble as a further incentive.


�Music students are a �year ahead� of their classmates as lessons �improve all-round learning�

�Skills learned in music lessons, the researchers argued, enhanced the student�s overall education

Music students are the equivalent of an academic year better in maths, science and English than their non-musical classmates, according to a study of 112,000 students.

The Canadian research of school records in British Columbia found that the effects were greater for pupils who played an instrument at a high level compared with those who studied vocal music.

Around 13 per cent of the students had participated in at least one music course at grade 10, 11 or 12 (the equivalent of 15-18 years old).

Qualifying courses included concert bands; conservatory piano; orchestra; jazz bands; concert choirs and vocal jazz.

��On average, the children who learned to play a musical instrument for many years, and were now playing in high school band and orchestra, were the equivalent of about one academic year ahead of their peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades,� said Dr Peter Gouzouasis, of the University of British Columbia, one of the authors of the paper, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

The report suggested that rather than pupils studying more to improve their maths, science and English their time would be better spent in music classes.

Skills learned in music lessons, the researchers argued, enhanced the student�s overall education.

�Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding,� said Dr Gouzouasis.

��A student has to learn to read music notation; develop eye-hand-mind coordination; develop keen listening skills; develop team skills and develop discipline to practice. All those learning experiences play a role in enhancing children�s cognitive capacities and their self-efficacy.

�Often, resources for music education are cut and the argument has frequently been that we need all our money to focus on maths, science and English.

�The irony is that music education may be the very thing that improves all-around academic achievement and an ideal way to have students learn more holistically in schools.�

Perhaps, one day, the idea of a national youth orchestra in the Solomon Islands might catch on.� I very much hope that it will.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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