The impacts of arts, and particularly music, on a child’s developing cognitive skills are varied and important, as multiple studies have shown. Early childhood development experts point to the benefits music has on a variety of areas of learning.
Importance of Music Exposure
Because music taps into multiple skill sets and senses – its benefits are broad. Listening skills, movement and fine motor skills all benefit from the process of interacting with music in an educational setting or even in an informal setting. Exposure to music also brings benefits to language development. A child is born, wired to learn and interpret sounds. Many experts believe that being exposed to music at an early age helps the child to better tap into that natural ‘wiring’ for developing language skills. The more exposure a child has to music, the more benefits are seen. There are relationships to an increased IQ, better spatial relations and higher math test scores for children who have a good quality music education in elementary school.
Challenge of Arts Funding in Schools
In public schools, the budget for the arts is frequently the first area to take cuts when a district is struggling. The harsh reality of this situation has resulted in some organizations taking creative measures to remedy this. Their efforts are an attempt to insure that their community’s children still have the benefits of an exposure to the arts. Sing for Hope is an example of one such organization. One might wonder what the relationship is between street pianos New York and arts education. Thanks to this organization’s efforts, New York neighborhoods and parks are the beneficiary’s of painted pianos placed outdoors for two weeks during the summer. Each piano quickly becomes a gathering spot for impromptu performances and fun within the various communities. The response has been very positive with the communities taking pride in, and embracing this unique, artistic display.
Across the nation, creative champions of the arts continue to try to reach people in all types of communities with the hopes that even a limited exposure to the arts may have some lasting effects.
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