Music is more than just a form of entertainment; it is also an effective teaching tool and a new form of therapy.
Eight out of the nine Elsberry, Misssouri R-II School District teachers interviewed by SciJourner confirmed that they do indeed use music daily as an aid in the classroom. Those interviewed include teachers of Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Advanced Learning Program, Early Childhood Special Education and even Agriculture Education.
All of those interviewed said that they have definitely seen the benefits of using music throughout their lessons.
“I use a CD called the Mozart Effect for Children to help with attention and memory during occupational therapy,” says Karen Kinsler, the occupational therapist at Clarence Cannon Elementary in Elsberry.
The elementary teachers tell SciJourner that they use music in the form of teaching songs to help students make mental connections and to help with learning and memorization. On the other hand, Jason Vandivort, the agriculture education teacher, says, “Music is played in the wood shop and in the greenhouses so the students stay focused and work more efficiently”.
Music can make the difference between isolation and interaction and has been proven to help with challenges, such as depression, anger, pain, autism, stress, grief, loss, time management, motivation, growth, change and procrastination,as well as aid in improving communication and health, according to the American Music Therapy Association.
Music has been known to alleviate stress by increasing the body’s release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller and "feel good" chemicals, according to the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Recent research from McMaster University, Northwestern University and the American Music Therapy Association also suggests that music produces powerful effects on the brain, promoting cognitive development, verbal skills, and emotional intelligence.
Evidence shows a correlation between musical training during childhood and cognitive ability, according to research from McMaster University in 2006. Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making. Canadian researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, measured changes in brain responses to music in children ages four to six years-old and discovered that children who took music lessons had greater improvements in IQ scores and skills such as mathematics, literacy and verbal memory.
One of the highlights of music therapy is its affect on verbal skills. Research from 2006 from Northwestern University suggests that music training is directly linked to enhanced verbal skills. In fact, this study suggests that music training may be more effective for developing verbal skills than learning phonics. This is because the brain’s multi-sensory involvement during musical practice and performance enhances the same communication skills needed for reading and speaking. Musicians train a certain neural system for processing sight and sound, music and speech. This means that early childhood musical training can help children develop literacy skills and reduce literacy disorders. Music can help bring and keep a more positive state of mind, which helps keep anxiety, eating disorders, and depression at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, according to the research from Northwestern University.
Music has also been found to bring many other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time; boosting immunity; and easing muscle tension, according to a report from Science Daily. Music therapy provides benefits to patients that are well tolerated, inexpensive, easy, to manage and free of side effects. These benefits are causing many to see music as an important tool to help the body in staying or becoming healthy, say experts. Amanda Logan
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