Music is one of many compulsory foundation subjects in most UK schools, but its place amongst compulsory lessons is at risk. Like multiple arts subjects, music provisions in classrooms has seen a significant reduction in recent years, to the point that its at risk of extinction.
According to research from the University of Sussex, 60% of teachers claim that the English Baccalaureate has had a negative impact on student numbers in music classes. In 62% of the surveyed schools, music wasn’t compulsory for Year 9 students, leaving 38% of secondary schools without compulsory music education after Year 8.
Further research from the University of Sussex has revealed that the number of schools teaching music as a music subject is decreasing, from Year 7 to A-Level. Despite the risk music classes are facing, there are still many benefits to its inclusion in the curriculum. Here are some of the main reasons why music is still so important for children to learn:
1) Music Teaches Children to Work as a Team
Music is an incredibly social pursuit. Learning how to play a musical instrument helps children to develop their communication skills and learn how to work as a team. As many musicians play together, there are some significant social benefits to music classes, like improved confidence and self-esteem. Whilst social, music also helps with individual development, encouraging children to practice self-control and patience.
2) Music Helps with Cognitive Development
Research has shown that children who have regular music lessons have an improved cognitive development. Music can improve important areas of cognitive ability like short-term memory and language-based reasoning. Through structured music classes, students learn translatable skills, such as concentration and the ability to complete tasks.
3) Music Improves Physical and Mental Development
Improved physical development and better mental health are important benefits of music. By playing an instrument, children develop improved coordination skills, from motor skills to hand-eye coordination. Playing musical instruments has also been linked with reduced stress, which can improve mental health.
4) Music Encourages Creativity
There is a very good reason music is classed as a ‘creative’ art. Learning about music and playing an instrument is a great example of self-expression. Music classes give children an opportunity to be creative in a way that’s disciplined.
5) Music Boosts Academic Performance
The skills that children learn in music class, like cognitive development, language skills, and reading and writing, can help in other areas of education. Learning music has been closely linked with overall academic success, with children who have regular access to music education being more successful at school.
From learning rhymes in primary school, to studying music history in secondary school, music has played a major role in the education of millions of children in the UK. With benefits that can improve learning ability across a wide spectrum of subjects, music still has such a valuable place in today’s classrooms.
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