By Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
I came across an article in one of the online music groups I check often, and it’s wonderful to learn how other people’s knowledge and experiences support and help some points that I try to impart, not only to our choir singers, but to everyone I get the opportunity to share. The article is about children’s singing.
With Summer here and regular school on break, it’s a great opportunity for children to be involved in other activities or start taking lessons to hone skills. Music lessons are always an excellent choice. The article points out that aside from the fact that taking singing lessons are fun and can increase confidence, it’s much more than helping a child carry a tune more reliably or getting them ready for their school musical. Singing actually exercises regions of the brain that are used in math, spatial understanding, reading and expression of emotion. Musical training as children can also make them better listeners later in life. Studies suggest that music lessons enhance lifelong listening and learning. Playing a musical instrument and singing as a child creates new pathways in the brain to process written words and letters. Even in babies, there’s increased smiling, waving, communication, and understanding of pitch with interactive song learning. Babies can actually distinguish scales, chords, and consonant combinations. They can recognize tunes played to them for several days. Research done in University of British Columbia (UBC) shows that singing lessons causes brain plasticity or neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change throughout life.
One of the most amazing benefits of musical training for children is its ability to induce meta-plasticity. This is the ability that happens from training in one area which later allows efficient learning and change (or plasticity) in other areas of the brain. When children understand that learning changes the structure and function of their brain, they more easily see their progress and anticipate it. This leads to the belief that they can reach their musical goals and get better through study and practice. And that leads to increased commitment, which keeps them studying and practicing!
Parents can feel doubly good about bringing more musical and singing opportunities into your children’s lives. Not only will they enjoy the immediate benefits of music making, but you are setting them up for a life-time of better functioning brains and abilities that will last the rest of their lives.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.