Cultivate Music Appreciation Among Children
Music appreciation is a universal language, one that crosses barriers of race, age, gender, and social class. Cultivating an appreciation of music among children is especially important, as making and listening to music can enhance and promote language development, coordination, creativity, and social skills, as well as cultivate a better understanding of one's history and culture. Indeed, much of a culture's ideals and heritage are embodied and preserved in its songs and music.
Yet despite the important role music can play in children's development and education, it is often afforded little or no place in the curriculum, especially in areas of the world where funds, facilities, and personnel to teach even basic subjects, such as mathematics, reading, and writing, may be lacking, or where budget cutbacks have eliminated music appreciation programs. In many such cases, it is up to dedicated volunteers to help bring music appreciation and the magic of music making to children.
Young people are naturally drawn to music, and this attraction can also help them learn other subjects. Music has been proven to help develop parts of the brain that are used for academic work, for example, such as math and reading. Exposure to music can also significantly enhance children's spatial reasoning, logic, and sensory motor skills. And it rarely takes long for children to move and dance with the music they hear or make themselves. Such a response heights their appreciation of music and provides them with physical exercise as well.
Music appreciation does not have to be a costly endeavor. In fact, with a little imagination – and children are often masters at imagination – musical "instruments" can be created from everyday materials: dried gourds and seeds can become rattles, empty boxes and hollow logs can become drums, and metal lids are transformed into cymbals. The voice is a natural instrument, and children can be taught music appreciation through singing traditional songs as well as making up their own melodies.
I Did This!
You don't need to be a talented musician to cultivate music appreciation among children, although any musical skills you have are very welcome. Here are some opportunities to help spread the sound of music among young people.
Cultivating music appreciation among children is an opportunity that keeps giving and growing long after you and other volunteers have left the children and the assignment behind. Once the seeds of music are planted, they live on in the hearts and minds, across time, across borders.
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