As the 2014 New Year kicks off, our children will be starting their new grades with most experiencing a mixture of nerves and excitement. As parents, we all wish the best for our children and quietly hope of great educational achievements in the years ahead. We all know that it is a great task for all parents in aiding and supporting their children through their school life, and most of us are prepared to take any measure to help our children cope with school life and hopefully achieve academically. More and more families are opting to sacrifice time and small luxuries in order to fund after school tuition so that their children have every chance to achieve and not fall behind academically. Most would agree that these extra tuition options are more apparent nowadays as opposed to when we parents went through the education system. One would think that our school system as a whole would be in a satisfactory state, and achieving acceptable academic results due to the great emphasis society instils on our children for academic achievement. Alarmingly, media and news articles lately have told us otherwise, and have emphasised the sad state of Australia’s education system in comparison to other nations globally.
In comparison to the world, Australia’s education system was ranked poorly in 2012. Education minister, Christopher Pyne states that Australia’s international ranking in mathematical literacy had dropped from 15th in 2009 to 19th in 2012, while its ranking in scientific literacy fell from 10th to 16th, and its placing in reading literacy decreased from 9th to 14th. These poor results beg the question ‘What are we Aussies doing so wrong?’ or better still ‘What are other nations doing so right?’ Upon researching other nation’s school curriculums, it is quite evident that other countries hold a greater importance and emphasis on the arts and in particular music. Are we as a nation losing our Arts, leading to a loss of culture and allowing other nations to dominate the world with THEIR Music, THEIR philosophy, THEIR art and all things cultural?
Recent studies suggest that learning music facilitates learning in general and enhances fine motor skills, memory and promotes language development. A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, 2004 found an average of 3 point increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons. There is also some neuroscience research suggesting that people involved in music training have larger growth of neural activity than people not undergoing music training. “When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University.
Music improves spatial-temporal skills in children over time. These skills come into play when solving advanced mathematical problems. Spatial-temporal skills are used in fields such as architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming, and when working with computers. Through music study, students also learn social skills such as the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the rewards of hard work. Teamwork skills and discipline are also learnt.
The list could go on and on about the benefits of studying music. Even at JumboNote Music School we have witnessed first-hand evidence of the benefits of studying music with our recent year 12 HSC students, who all received Band 6 (90% and higher score) in their Music Grade. Such a high score propelled their ATAR scores dramatically enabling many of them to receive university placements in a variety of fields they could only dream of.
With all the studies and evidence suggesting Music Study helps enhance education and culture, why then is music not promoted as an important facet to our daily lives and become a more integral part of our Aussie culture? Having music as a core curriculum taught in every school, not just some could be the key to improving our educational standards in Australia. Even better still, the art of Music may help unite people and families and may even propel our nation onto the global stage as the musical and educational hub of the world. After all, we are renowned for being a sports mad country… I’m sure there is room for us Aussies to include music as well. What do you think????????????????
Lucy Zoric – Mother of 4 Musical Children
Director at JumboNote Music School Sydney
Beverly Hills – Kogarah – Prestons
PH: 1300 787 697