Music is one of the forms of art that has become an indispensable partof every individual’s life.
In fact, commencing with the creation of firstprimitive musical instruments by our ancestors and ending up with complexmodern instruments and technologies like synthesizers and computer programsthat scores sounds, humankind was always inclined to be surrounded by music. AsLevitin states “Whenever humans come together for any reason, music isthere: weddings, funerals, graduation from college, men marching off to war,stadium sporting events, a night on the town, prayer, a romantic dinner,mothers rocking their infants to sleep …
music is a part of the fabric ofeveryday life” ( Levitin, 2010). Today music has already found its placeeven in health care aspects of life with the advent of music therapy that isused for improving mental and physical health. Particularly, numerousresearches that have been conducted among children and young people in order toevince effects of music have shown that active engagement with music has majorpositive impacts for human.
This essay will focus on beneficial effects ofmusic on the development of language skills, literacy, creativity andmathematical skills.First of all, music is considered to have a significant contribution tothe development of language skills. Infact, music consists of genuine information in informal language which isnatural to the ear and provides a great deal of opportunity for person toimprove listening, reading and speaking skills. According to the research of Edinburgh University (Ludke, Ferreira and Overy, 2013), adults wholearned foreign language by singing words and phrases, subsequently achievedtwice as good results in using them in speech. Moreover, music may improve skillsin listening comprehension of foreign language learners by making acquaintedwith new vocabulary, idioms, expressions and pronunciations. Therefore, mostresearchers who find out correlations between music and language acquisitionassert that music should be integrated in language learning processes asassociating verbal practice to musical information may be more effective formemorization. Additionally, Mora (2000, p152) argues that creating musicalatmosphere in language teaching process “providea rich environment of sound and cuts out other auditory distractions”.Eventually, studies carried out among children have proven that earlyengagement with music has a notable impact on their learning of secondlanguage.
According to Hallam (2010)musical training and abilities lead to the enhancement of brain’s earlylinguistic encoding of sounds. Pcynissrcioglu,Durgunoglu and Uney-Kusefoglu (2002) who worked with preschoolers report that childrenwith higher musical aptitude level were more successful in manipulating soundsof speech. Additionally, it isirrefutable that infants firstly learn the sounds of language rather than itsmeaning, and therefore they may be able to imitate its rhythm and musicalcontour before saying the words. For these reasons, music can be considered asa key factor contributing to the preparation of children for genuine languageand development of individual’s language perception.One of the positive impacts of musicis the enhancement of literacy.
The role which music plays in languageacquisition contributes to the development of reading skills. A number ofresearch studies have found that children who attend musical instructions showa tendency to score higher in comparison to those who do not participate.According to Butzlaff (2000) about 25 studies among over 500,000 students foundstrong association between musical instruction and results of readingcomprehension tests. One of the ways in which extensive active music engagementimproves reading performance is through the improved verbal memory. Verbalmemory is a vital aspect of children learning to read as it will be of help inreading printed texts with comprehension. Ho, Cheng and Chan (2003) worked with ninety 6-15 years old childrencome to a determination that those with music training had substantially betterverbal memory and operating holdup. Moreover, musical skills have strongcorrelations with phonological and phonemic awareness which are directly linkedwith literacy. In order to become successful readers it is extremely importantfor children to have an ability to recognize that words are composed ofsegregated sound units and use this knowledge in reading and building of words.
The results of research which is examined phonological awareness, musicalperformance, and early reading skills of 100 preschooler children show thatmusic skills strongly correlated with both , phonological awareness and readingskills (Anvari et al, 2002). Furthermore, another study (Piro and Ortiz, 2009) focused on the impactsof learning the piano on the vocabulary development and verbal sequencing insecond grade infants. In this experiment 46 children had piano lessons duringthree consecutive years and 57 did not. According to results, the musiclearning group had better scores of word sequencing and vocabulary.The evolvement of creativity isanother positive influence that music has on person. Creativity is one of the most crucial toolsthat lead to success.
Majority of researchers that focused on the effects ofmusic on creativity elicited the relationships between processing music and stimulatingthe creativity on person. According toHallam (2010) music students of high-schools and universities showed higherscores on tests of creativity compared to the non-music majors. Besides, Einstein who is considered to be oneof the most creative geniuses of the world recognized an indefinable connectionbetween music and his science. Consequently, he frequently applied music inorder to help with his creative process. In addition, the Directorof the Music Intelligence Lab at Georgia Tech, Parag Chordia claims that musicis an essential contributor to the creativity development and cultivation (Dogra,2017). Musical training, especially creating music and improvisation are theprocesses that are responsible for activating several areas of brain and helpto improve the capacity of creative thinking.
Particularly, listening to musicmay also greatly facilitate relaxation which is known as a key to creativity. Lehrer (2012,p) insist that it is more likelyto be directed to “the spotlight of attention inward ” when the person’s mind is at ease. Likewise, one of the key components ofcreative process -imagination is also stimulated by music listening. Beingimmersed in beautiful music and listening favorite song promote mood shift,create images in mind and makes people open to new ideas (Levitin, 2007).Finally, active engagement withmusic leads to the improvement of mathematical performance.
It has been alwaysconjectured that strong relationship exists between music and mathematics. Major researches showed that children who areexposed to musical training tend to develop their cognitive skills. However, theinfluences of music on one’s ability to do mathematics are likely to bedependent on the musical engagement type and length of time which is spent onthem. Study showed that students who were involved in rhythm instrumentactivities achieved higher scores on part-whole mathematics problems than thoseparticipating in piano and singing instructions (Hallam, 2010).
Whitehead (2001)found that among middle- and high-school students who were placed in 3 groups:groups with high and moderate musical involvement, and no treatment group, thegroup with high involvement gained greater results in mathematics. Specifically,the impacts of music on mathematical skills are occasionally termed the Mozarteffect. This term refers to the results of experiment according to which wasdiscovered that listening to compositions of Mozart is responsible for theshort-term improvement of spatial-temporal reasoning. Spatial-temporalreasoning is important in mathematics, especially in geometry and specialcalculation types where the ability to transformation of images in space andtime is required. Therefore, individuals with the greater ability inspatial-temporal reasoning possess better mathematical skills. To sum up, active engagement with music isresponsible for the development of several skills on human such as languagelearning, reading and writing, creative thinking and mathematical performance.Authentic information that is offered by music and the informality of itslanguage provide person with the opportunity to learn and memorize new words,phrases, idioms and as a result develop speaking skills.
Especially for children there might bebenefits of music for the language skills enhancement that is consequentlyimpact on literacy. In particular, the opportunity of involving coordination rhythmicallyand improving verbal memory are also important for the literacy skills. The creativityis another skill that can be improved by music-related activities such asimprovisation, creation of new sounds and listening to music. Relaxation and imaginationare the keys of creativity that might be caused by listening of songs. Furthermore,spatial reasoning which is required in mathematics is an area of intelligence thatcan be increased by music. Ultimately, music is a powerful tool