Making great music. Making great kids.

Improves cognitive development. Enhances collective expression. Accessible regardless of SEN need, disability or prior academic achievement. Supports learning English as an additional language. It’s no wonder why music education is a compulsory part of UK early childhood learning frameworks (EYFS), as well as the National Curricula for Key Stages 1-3.

Schools

National Curriculum

First, music is a valued part of the National Curriculum for schools. It’s included in the Early Years and Foundation Stage statutory framework (EYFS), as well as in the Key Stage One, Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three compulsory National Curricula. Moreover, research has proven that music taught before the age of seven has the highest impact on child development. As music graduates, programme directors and practitioners in the classroom, Sing Education see first-hand that when music is started at an early age, there are very positive boosts in child development. This extends to both cognitive and emotional development, and even applies to levels of general academic attainment. The earlier that music education starts, the better the impact we observe throughout the developmental trajectory of a pupil.

Global Accessibility

Second, music is an equal access subject, so music is accessible for all children. Whether a child has English as an additional language, has a special educational need or disability, or is a high academic achiever, music is a subject that all children can access in an equal way. For example, in our teaching practice, we incorporate a lot of English folk songs, as well as music from around the world, such as Asia and Africa. This really helps with developing language skills, especially for children with EAL background and needs. Where English is not the dominant language in the home, learning to sing in English can help tremendously because it naturally uses the rhymes and rhythms of the English languag

Female sitting in a circle with twelve pupils, all patting their legs and singing, blue pond prop in the middle.

Cognitive Development

Third, music uses unique areas of the brain that are not accessed by any other activity. By utilizing music education in primary schools, Sing Education is aiding children’s cognitive development.

For example, research shows music has been demonstrated to trigger particular areas of the brain, such as the part which helps us to understand what others are thinking and feeling, and to predict how they might behave. Social skill scientists call this “theory of mind.” Current theory posits a strong link to empathy.

A recent study bears this out. Across an academic year, a group of primary-school-aged children were exposed to either a) musical games, b) no games or c) games with the same purpose, but involving drama or storytelling instead of music. All of the children were given varying empathy measures, but only the musical game group significantly increased their empathy scores. This points strongly to music having potentially played a key role in the children’s empathy development.

Collective Expression

Music is at the root a way to express oneself. And with all its facets and nuances, music offers young children a very powerful mode of expression.

Studies have found that music can stimulate the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals such as oxytocin and endorphins. These chemicals can help energise a child’s mood, help them work through problems they may be experiencing and provide an outlet for them to take control of their emotions. It has also been demonstrated that music calms children by decreasing stress and negative emotions. Thus all of Sing Education’s methodology, schemes of work and lessons are deeply grounded in the knowledge that music is a powerful tool for evoking positive thought, expression and wellbeing in children.

Did you also know that music is the only art form where children can create and express themselves collectively at the same time towards the same goal?

When we make music together as an ensemble – whether that is in a singing assembly or in the music classroom, whether when creating a piece of music together or performing a piece of music together – we’re all playing the same thing, at the same time and contributing together to one piece of art. Music is the only art form that enables us to do this fully.

Young girl, her hands in the air, smiling about to clap, sitting on the floor in a classroom.

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