Music and Literacy Study by New London Orchestra has Startling Implications
Music Education, Music Lessons, Music Schools
In my time giving guitar and other music lessons in Perth, I have always suspected that people who took music lessons were a little sharper than those who didn’t. I never really had any proof, but it just seemed that kids who were doing music had it a bit more “together” than those who don’t.
I didn’t want to be arrogant about music, so I never really gave it serious thought. In London, though, someone has given it a lot of thought: the New London Orchestra. In cooperation with the University of London’s Institute of Education, the New London Orchestra has embarked on a three-year programme called “Literacy through Music.”
The programme is being given to children aged six and seven, and is designed to improve their reading abilities by combining their reading with specially-designed music activities. The 2011 portion took place in seven Year 2 classes in three different schools, and involved giving kids the experience of making music. The results were evaluated in July by an independent University team led by Professor Graham Welch.
Out of 207 participants, the reading age went up by an average of 8.4 months, compared with a control group of 61 kids whose reading only improved by 1.8 months. In other words, the kids who incorporated music into their education improved in reading 4.7 times faster than those who had a “standard” education.
Kids who went through the five month programme had a minimum improvement of 5 months, and a maximum of 13.2 months. In another finding that came as no surprise, the singing ability of the kids who took music classes “improved considerably.” Also, boys and girls had virtually the same improvement.
Kids were given four activities related to music and literacy: games, poems, stories, and songs. Kids were encouraged to clap, chant, copy, and even compose rhythms, and to create song fragments that contained alliteration, rhyme, or unusual vocabulary.
According to Professor Welch, “Research (indicates that) music influences (other) brain functions. This… suggests that… music activity can foster… reading… positive social identity, and musical… development.
This study raises a serious question: why do only 20% of Australian children get music education in school?
Luckily, we’re here to give music lessons to your child, from Perth to Melbourne. Contact us today and see if music can help your child learn how to read faster.
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