It is universally understood that people strive to learn to become wiser and moreinformed about the world around them. The more people learn, the more powerful theycan become. It is the speed at which people learn that separates the geniuses from theaverage people and from the learning disabled. Geniuses don’t run into problems whilelearning, because they learn very fast. It is everyone else that could really use help. Onesolid way to increase the speed at which people learn is with music.
People learn throughmusic and their minds grow faster because of it. Some music, when implementedproperly, can have positive effects on learning and attitude. Music is a powerful thing, andwhen we understand its significance, it can bring dramatic changes both positive andnegative into our lives. The earliest stages of learning for young children are the most important. Thefundamentals of learning are instilled into a child at a very young age.
How muchimportance is placed on these fundamentals can have dramatic affects on the future ofthe child’s learning. Music, when applied in a constructive way, can have positive effectson a child’s ability to learning and can help them in many ways. One way that music can make learning easier for a young child is by implementing musiclessons into a child’s normal activities. A small study was done two years back involvingten three-year-olds who were tested on their ability to put together a puzzle and the speedat which they could do it (“Learning Keys” 24). After the initial test was taken, five of thechildren were given singing lessons for 30 minutes a day and the other five were givenpiano lessons for 15 minutes a week (24). The lessons were conducted over a six- monthperiod of time, and after the six months, all of the kids showed substantial improvementin the speed at which they could put together the puzzle (24).
The researchersunderstand this skill in putting pieces of a puzzle together as the same reasoning thatengineers, chess players and high-level mathematicians use. In this study of inner-citykids, their initial scores were below the national average, but afterwards their scoresnearly doubled (24). The term given to this type of reasoning and thought that goes intoputting pieces of a puzzle together is called abstract reasoning. By teaching music,people exercise the same abstract reasoning skills that they use for doing math or someother exercise in which the people have to visualize in their head.
An eight month studywas conducted by Frances H. Rauscher of the University of California at Irvine. In thisstudy, nineteen preschoolers, ranging in age from three to five, received weekly keyboardand daily singing lessons while another fivteen preschoolers received no musical trainingat all (Bower 143). At the begining, middle and end of the study, the subjects were testedon five spatial reasoning tasks (143).
After only four months, scores on the test toassemble a puzzle to form a picture improved dramatically for the group with the musicaltraining, while the control group didn’t, even though both groups started out with thesame scores (143). It can be stated that this kind of improvement may not be substantialenough to alter the way people are fundamentally taught, but its results cannot beignored. Rauscher explains, “Music instruction can improve a child’s spatial intelligencefor a long time, perhaps permanently” (qtd. in Bower 143). Implementing such changesand improvements into a young child’s learning could have great effects on them in thefuture when dealing with the same spatial reasoning skills. With its resulting improvements in spatial reasoning, music can also be a very helpfultool when actually implementing it into the classroom and intergradting it with basicschool curriculum.
In New York City, a program called Learning through an Expanded ArtsProgram, or LEAP, has been going on for a while and provides both music and the arts isimplemented into the school curriculum to improve scholastic scores of children at alllevels (Dean and Gross 614). One way in which music is implemented is with math. Theycall it “musical