The Psychology Behind Music in Early Education

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The Psychology Behind Music in Early Education
From recorders to choir, children are exposed to music classes in their early schooling years. While not everyone will progress to considerable musical talent, the benefits that music in early education provides are overwhelming. In fact, scientists can even track the psychological, philosophical, biological, etc. impacts of vibration and sound. Music in early education creates multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary natures in psychology that can affect a child’s life far beyond grade school. So how exactly does the academic process of elementary music affect psychology?
Understanding Lifelong Psychological Contributions from Music
A significant body of psychological and scientific research has been conducted to tie music with developmental, cognitive, Freudian, behavioral, and humanistic attributes of psychology. Remember that in 1983, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences existing was groundbreaking, suggesting that music could play its own role in the human developmental process.
Whether it’s class piano or playing a few notes on the recorder, children across America are experiencing the three main psychological benefits that music provides in early education. These include:
  • Cognitive psychology. This is less artistic and focused more on the actual skill and craft of music. In grade school, music classes are focused on the development of melodic processes. Can kids distinguish the melody? Can they hear intertwined musical melodies and pick them out? Furthermore, can they learn to sing melodies that they hear and represent or try to recreate that music? Of course, these developmental processes that music classes develop aren’t limited to just application in music. But perhaps it is the psychology behind music education that brings these skills out for use elsewhere.
  • Cognitive-developmental psychology. This aspect focuses more on “music conservation.” In other words, it takes a look at how children develop aesthetic sensitivity and how it manifests as a result of music classes. Also, the development of children to understand and create music must be considered. For instance, looking to see if the children can compose pieces or improvise melodies will show considerable growth and intuitive musical understanding.
  • Behavioral psychology. These benefits are rooted in motivation and the affects of music in the classroom. In fact, more and more grade schools throughout Chicago and the nation are using music as a way to grab children’s attention. There are even charter schools where teachers or figures of authority will clap a rhythm and anyone who hears it must clap the answering rhythm in return – thereby grabbing everyone’s attention.
The Psychology of Music by David J. Hargreaves is an excellent insight into the role that music plays in today’s grade school education. Donald A. Hodges takes things further with his research, looking for a direct correlation between music psychology and music education. As psychological research continues to discover the benefits of music in the educational process, this is one area of education that should remain a priority for parents and educators alike.