Music is traditionally discussed as influencing people’s emotions, feelings, and physical state significantly because the sound effects stimulate the individual’s brain and promote its activities. As a result, it is possible to state that music can enhance people’s learning activities because of improving intelligence. The discussions of the role of music as an enhancement to education are on-going, and they are supported with the new data regarding the music effects on the child or young person’s brain processes and reactions. Researchers are inclined to state that the music incorporated in the teaching-learning process can stimulate students’ activities, motivate them, and contribute to achieving the highest education goals (Besson, Chobert, and Marie 2).
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From this point, music can be considered as an enhancement to education because being incorporated in the teaching-learning process; music contributes to the young people’s physical, emotional, and mental progress; moreover, music education encourages students to focus on their creativity, personal expression, and multiple intelligence.
Therefore, it is possible to determine two basic approaches of using music for enhancing learning, students’ development, and improving education. The first approach is the direct integration of music in the teaching-learning process while making classroom activities more attractive for students and the overall curriculum more flexible and student-oriented. In this context, the music can be used in lessons as the background music to improve memorizing and concentration, as the way to distinguish between concepts and topics, and as the method to promote cooperation and social interaction (Courey, Balogh, Siker, and Paik 252). The other approach is associated with the music education of students as part of the general education because playing instruments and learning music compositions; young people can develop their brain processes actively.
During recent years, educators use music while working not only with early childhood but also with adolescents because music is an important component of their daily interests. Thus, sounds have significant effects on students while motivating them, increasing their energy, and changing their moods (Preis, Arnon, Silbert, and Rozegar 3). Favorable effects of using music in the teaching-learning process are associated with the fact that rhythmic sounds of music help students concentrate and focus on details while stimulating their brain processes at the neurophysiological level (Feinstein 21). As a result, the academic successes also change, and this feature is known for educators who use music as the background for reading, learning, and memorizing, or for the group work.
Elements and principles of music can be used in different parts of the curriculum, lesson, and in different activities typical for the educational environment. When young people hear music that helps increase their moods, they are inclined to perceive the overall atmosphere as positive and comfortable, and the associated academic achievements can become higher because of individuals’ concentration and productivity increase (Jaschke, Eggermont, Honing, and Scherder 4). Students can also develop rapport and improve their inspiration.
Music should be discussed as a multisensory experience; that is why music can enhance education when students learn to play different instruments and compose musical pieces because they develop different parts of their brain. When a person is listening to music, and especially, playing the instrument, both hemispheres of the brain work and individuals receive the opportunity to improve their psychomotor functioning along with the cognitive and affective functioning (O’Neill 24). As a result, music education, as added to the general education, is an important strategy to realize the principle of the holistic approach to education in order to help students improve their academic performance and grow as developed persons.
The other important argument for focusing on the music as a way to enhance education is associated with the theory of Multiple Intelligence developed by Howard Gardner in the 1980s. In his works, Gardner stated that there are many forms of intelligence that develop simultaneously. Thus, linguistic, mathematical, musical, kinesthetic, visual-spatial, and interpersonal intelligence should be developed in individuals equally in order to speak about the developed person (Prashnig 112).
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Gardner’s idea was adopted in education because the researcher paid attention to the necessity to focus on the development of intelligence as a complex process that consists of several stages, levels, and components (Portowitz, Lichtenstein, Egorova, and Brand 108). Referring to this theory, it is important to state that music can become an enhancement to education when it is referred to as an approach to develop students’ multiple intelligences.
In order to guarantee that education is oriented to developing the full potential of a student, it is necessary to ensure that all aspects of the personality develop effectively. Those persons who received an effective education without focusing on the music component can be discussed as good specialists in their fields, but they are limited in their emotional and creative expression because they are restricted in receiving the regular electrical stimulation of music sounds to improve their imagination. Furthermore, it is surprising, but music closely related to education can also enhance individuals’ social interaction because persons regularly listening to music or playing instruments are often discussed as having high moods, high levels of relaxation, and emphasized desires to cooperate and communicate.
Besson, Mireille, Julie Chobert, and Céline Marie. “Transfer of Training between Music and Speech: Common Processing, Attention, and Memory”. Front Psychology 2.94 (2011): 1–12. Web.
Courey, Susan Joan, Endre Balogh, Jody Rebecca Siker, and Jae Paik. “Academic Music: Music Instruction to Engage Third-Grade Students in Learning Basic Fraction Concepts”. Education Study Mathematics 81.1 (2012): 251-278. Web.
Feinstein, Sheryl. The Praeger Handbook of Learning and the Brain. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. Print.
Jaschke, Artur , Laura Eggermont, Henkjan Honing, and Erik Scherder. Music education and its effect on intellectual abilities in children: a systematic review. 2013. Web.
O’Neill, Susan. Personhood and Music Learning: Connecting Perspectives and Narratives. Toronto: Canadian Music Educators’ Association, 2012. Print.
Portowitz, Adena, Osnat Lichtenstein, Ludmula Egorova, and Eva Brand. “Underlying Mechanisms Linking Music Education And Cognitive Modifiability”. Research Studies in Music Education 31.1 (2009): 107-128. Web.
Prashnig, Barbara. Power of Diversity: New Ways of Learning and Teaching through Learning Styles. New York: A&C Black, 2004. Print.
Preis, Janet, Roxanne Arnon, Dara Silbert, and Ashley Rozegar. Does Music Matter? The Effects of Background Music on Verbal Expression and Engagement in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2015. Web.