It is indeed true. According to the scriptures that have documented Indian education system, in addition to religious subjects many worldly subjects were included in the curriculum. Subjects such as dance, music, astronomy etc were a part of the curriculum. During those times, education was not regarded as an end in itself; in fact it was essentially a part of life. This is why along subjects such as arts; dance & music were given as much importance as vedas, history, puranas, grammar and mathematics.
Benefits of Early music education
The above should ideally be enough to convince everybody that music education is not just about learning a musical instrumentbut also learning a music instrument helps towards overall development of a child in developing the motor skills, cognitive ability, enhanced brain functions and better emotional development.
These benefits are everlasting and they don’t end here. Music education from an adolescent stage has proved to be a reliable predicator of success in college and professional life as well. According to reports, the ratio of students enrolling in medical schools with a major in music is approximately 22% higher than any other major. Additionally the very best engineers and technical designers in Silicon Valley are practicing musicians.
Students who spend more time learning music indulge less in other nefarious activities such as joining a gang or substance abuse. The cognitive and behavioral advantages of music are far reaching and wide spread and do not precede any child’s ethnicity or socio-economic background.
Also let’s not forget Albert Einstein – the greatest physicist of the century was an accomplished musician. Einstein used music as a gateway & means to reflect upon and create some of his major inventions.
The way ahead
The great violin teacher Shinichi Suzuki once said “The purpose of [music] education is to train children, not to be professional musicians but to be fine musicians and to show high ability in any other field they enter.”
As visionary educators it becomes our responsibility to nurture & cultivate the knowledge and skills in our students in order for them to be balanced, creative and progressive members of society. Of course the most fundamental subjects such as math, science and history are important. But at the same time subjects like music and other forms of arts are also equally important. For its many substantial benefits that music education has, it needs to be maintained & promoted as a vital component of elementary & secondary education.
For starters educating yourself with the benefits of early childhood music education would give way to a new way of thinking.
As parents, you can look for available options to introduce music education in the lives of your children & if possible you can enroll them in a school that has a robust music program for students. And if your child’s current school doesn’t have such a program then you can insist on including it as a part of the curriculum. The benefits of music education go way beyond just academic excellence. Its applications in today’s fast paced world is truly liberating, so you too can make most of music learning by joining your child in this learning experience and building memories to last as they grow along.
I personally believe that music education shouldn’t be optional anymore and that every individual at least needs to keep an open mind to the argument presented by the “Affirmative” side of this discussion.
This article is authored by Dharini Upadhyaya CO- Founder and CO- CEO of Furtados School of Music