Carter, Christine. “How Learning Music Can Enhance Kids’ Brain Development”. The Huffington Post. (23 September 2010). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-carter-phd/music-for-the-eople_b_721262.html
The author believes that music training in early childhood enhances the brain to pick out specific sounds patterns, helps them to develop language skills, and leads to the social and emotional intelligence behind the speech, which is proven by many researches. As a mom and a professional parenting advisor, she was intrigued by the benefit of musical training and tried to sign her daughter up for music lessons. While questioning the sufficient amount of training needed for brain development, she found the suggestion made by Nina Kraus, a neurobiologist and a sociologist at Northwestern, to provide at least 20 minutes of musical training per day. However, providing sufficient money and time for her daughter’s music lessons as suggested was impractical. While looking for alternatives, she got introduced to a website called ToonsTunes, where children can create music online regardless of previous musical knowledge. She is optimistic that the website will work as a great alternative to formal music education for her children because it is engaging, practical, and more importantly, the process is self-driven.
It is impressive that many parents are aware that music enhances kids’ brain development, and interested in providing some kind of musical training for children. However, the term ‘musical training’ is vague. Can any type of exposure to music, such as listening, playing random notes on instruments, get private lessons, or playing ToonsTunes website help children’s brain development? Is one way better than another?
According to the dictionary definition, the word ‘training’ means “the education, instruction, or discipline of a person or thing that is being trained”, which implies that there is a teacher-learner relationship involved. Probably this definition of ‘training’ is why some parents feel obliged to provide some kind of music ‘lessons’ for their children, and therefore musical training could be seen as it is only for the privileged ones. However, parents should not feel guilty or anxious about not able to provide private music lessons since ‘experiencing’ music is what develops the brain to pick up certain sound patterns and interpret, which leads to language and emotional intelligence; more exposure to variety of musical activity is what matters. Private lessons might be the best way if a child wants to develop an expertise on a specific instrument, but it is not the one and only way. Some parents might say that still there is a need for someone with expertise in order to improve, or some type of ensemble experience is necessary for social development, and here is when the school music program plays its role; under the premise that the school music teacher is good, parents should not worry about the ‘training’ part.
|Creating music in ToonsTunes|