Music has the awesome ability and effect to shift our mood or enable us to recall fond memories. “When you listen to music you also work better, you can exercise harder and longer, and you experience changes in blood pressure.” (Parker, 2016) In addition to all this, music allows kids to develop “early language and literacy skills.” The emotional effects of music is pretty commonly known, but they also allow the brain to be more receptive to learning as well as make it fun and interactive. Many of the skills involved in literacy are also found in music, and music education helps students’ literacy development. There are several ways music is able to prepare kids to read and write when their brain is developing.
1.Music instruction strengthens listening and attention skills
Listening requires children to have to focus on the specific sounds, tones, pitches, and words. These listening skills prepare them to “sing in tune, create melodies, and move to music.”
2. Music instruction improves phonological awareness
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear sounds that make up words in spoken language. (Parker, 2016) With this ability, kids are able to take the sounds they hear and associate them with symbols and other links and connections. Researches have found that the brain processes music and language similarly, therefore learning one promotes the other. Music can be an exciting way for children to develop their language skills and processing in the classroom.
3. Music instruction enriches print awareness
Print is everywhere, and children do notice this long before we teach them. It’s found on the books they read, the signs they pass, the clothes and shoes they wear. Along with print comes pattern. They become first introduced to language patterns from songs, rhymes, or chants. Once they are able to find and follow the pattern, it becomes more exciting and inclusive to be able to follow along or create their own. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed is a really good example of a chant/ song that encourages this. It’s repetitive as well as a rhyme and it can be engaging and fun for everyone.
4. Music instruction refines auditory discrimination and increases auditory sequencing ability.
When children listen to music, they are able to begin distinguishing the different tones and melodies. This is so necessary when they begin to read and music is able to give them a head start. Their brain learns to organize and recognize the various sounds and associate them with meanings, something else vital to literacy.
5. Music instruction enriches vocabulary
The lyrics of kids songs are often repeated over and over. Children become prone to repeat everything they hear at a certain point, so inevitably they will being repeating the songs they hear, even if they don’t know what the words mean. Most of the vocabulary we here comes from listening to other people or things, not from instruction. In this way we are able to introduce a huge range of vocabulary to young students that they may not learn anywhere, or even get them ahead in the vocab they will learn at a higher level.
|Literacy Skill||Musical Skill||Example Song|
|Phoneme awareness||Pitch awareness||Apples and Bananas|
|Discrimination of auditory elements||Discrimination of pitches and key awareness||Hickory Dickory Dock|
|Speech signals||Auditory signals||Pop Goes the Weasel|
|Letters, words, and sentences||Notes||Bingo|
|Visual focus||Visual focus||Row, Row, Row Your Boat|
|Rhyme||Rhyme||Down by the Bay|