For many people, children and adults alike, music forms a significant and highly enjoyable part of their everyday life and provides a powerful stimulus to the imagination. For me, music has the ability to reflect or change our mood, it can ‘speak’ directly to us using a language that is not limited by words or determined by visual images. Music can transport us to another place and time, exhilarate us and lift us above the everyday, and it can remind us that there is still a place for the magical and the mysterious in our lives.
The importance of music in education cannot be understated. Its role in developing listening and concentration skills, music’s part in improving memory and motor skills, and how it fosters pupils’ ability to work together and develop their appreciation of the work of others; these are just a few of a long list of skills and attributes that the subject encourages. It is not, however, the only subject that helps children to develop these skills, so what does music offer children?
I would put suggest that there are two answers to this question. Music offers children the opportunity for self-expression. Whether they are singing in a concert, playing an instrument for their own pleasure, or composing and ordering sounds that are uniquely their own, music can unlock and develop their creative abilities which in turn builds self-esteem and self-confidence.
The other, equally important answer is a simple one; enjoyment. Music makes people happy whether you are a performer or a listener, whether you are a member of a group or part of an orchestra, or if you are simply playing for your own pleasure. Asked about what music meant to her, one of the children in Year 5 summed this up perfectly, ‘I love the joy and the happiness music brings to me, my family and my friends.’