From the beginning of time, humankind has always had one ability in common: no matter where we live, what language we speak or what belief system we subscribe to, we all have the ability to either make, create or enjoy music.

Even if you cannot carry a tune or have given up on mastering a music instrument, almost every human being can clap or stamp along to a good and stable beat. Our brains are wired to receive and interpret music.

 

 

 

The scientific facts
Music plays a vital role in our neurological development and triggers certain cognitive, social, and emotional functions.

    • We process all sounds in the same area of the brain that help us memorise information in both language and music. Our perception of language and musical sound is closely related, for example, words and meanings in language and familiar melodies in music. This is also why, at a very young age rhythmical rhymes and especially repetitive songs, are very beneficial and almost comes naturally to children. They have an internal urge to hear and sing the same songs and rhymes repeatedly.
    • Another system in our brain, based in the frontal brain lobes, helps us unconsciously learn and use the rules that underlie both language and music: the rules of syntax in sentences, and the rules of harmony in music. Certain combinations of notes create harmony (good sounds) and links with the ability to perceive a certain order of words to create understandable and well-structured sentences. Bad combinations of notes create dissonance (false sounds) and links with the ability to perceive the incorrect order of words and badly structured sentences.
    • Rhythmic ability correlates significantly both with syllable production and overall language skills. Rhythm clapping, highlighting syllables in words, significantly improve syllable production.
    • The ability to keep a beat requires coordination of hearing and movement which involves and requires accurate communication across the entire brain and body.
    • Music and reading go hand in hand. When children learn to read notation while playing an instrument, both their auditory and visual perception processes (the processes of recognising and interpreting information taken in through the senses of sight and sound) are stimulated – a requisite for reading.

 

 

The gift of learning a musical instrument

Studies show that the brain is actively trained when a child learns to play an instrument. The brain learns to hear and interpret sounds unique to the experience of playing music that is not trained by just listening to it. This is highly beneficial to developing brains, because as the brain is still maturing, it rewires the normal course of neural communication to become more elaborate in connecting the left and right hemispheres. The result is a brain more capable of processing complex information.

Playing an instrument encourages the connection between the motor, sensory, auditory, visual, and emotional systems. This full-brain mental workout involves artistic and aesthetic aspects of learning – a unique characteristic of playing an instrument that cannot be stimulated by any other activity, not even by playing sports.

The combination of linguistic and mathematical precision in the brain’s left hemisphere, is trained to work in coordination with the creative functions in the right hemisphere. This increases activity in the corpus callosum (a large bundle of more than 200 million nerve fibres that connect the two brain hemispheres, permitting communication between the right and left sides of the brain). The improved communication between the hemispheres is then translated to a musician’s enriched ability to solve problems more effectively and creatively in academic and social settings.

The Waldorf School at Rosemary Hill understands the value of teaching music to develop intellectual smarts and have invested in a full-time music programme. All our learners, aged pre-school up to high school, have dedicated music periods every week. We also offer (private) violin, piano, and guitar lessons to those learners interested in playing these instruments, with more instruments to be added soon, offering a variety of choice.  For more information about private music lessons, please contact Juanita Bredenhann on 083 301 9549.

Music provides a healthy, natural, and invaluable opportunity for learners to express themselves while encouraging the development of the whole child, enhancing cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills.

Give your child the gift of music.

(written by Juanita Bredenhann – Music Teacher)

 

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