EVERY CHILD NEEDS THE ARTS...
“The arts are the ways we human beings "talk" to ourselves and to each other. They are the language of civilization through which we express our fears, our anxieties, our curiosities, our hungers, our discoveries, and our hopes. They are the universal ways by which we humans still play make-believe, conjuring up worlds that explain the ceremonies of our lives. The arts are not just important; they are a central force in human existence. Every child should have sufficient opportunity to acquire familiarity with these languages that so assist us in our fumbling, bumbling, and all-too-rarely brilliant navigation through this world. Because of this, the arts should be granted major status in every child's schooling.” Dr. Charles Fowler
Research clearly shows that early childhood is the critical time for music development. Given the right supporting environment, important milestones in both tonal and rhythmic development are within reach for all young children. Where environmental stimulation is lacking, however, children are at signiﬁcant risk of not achieving the foundation needed to support a lifetime of music learning and enjoyment. For instance, research shows that musical aptitude --the ease with which a child learns music ---- ﬂuctuates in the ﬁrst few years of life in response to the quality of a child's music environment. A child in a stimulating music environment receives an aptitude boost.
“The brain undergoes a period of rapid neural development after birth, continuing for the ﬁrst years of life. During this time, new neural connections are forming more rapidly than at any other time in our lives, and during our mid childhood years, the brain starts to prune these connections, retaining only the most important and most often used ones. This becomes the basis for our understanding of music and ultimately the basis for what we like in music, what music moves us, and how it moves us. This is not to say that we can’t learn to appreciate new music as adults, but basic structural elements are incorporated into the very wiring of our brains when we listen to music early in our lives.”
Daniel Levitin, Ph.D. (This Is Your Brain on Music, p.107)
The bottom line is that easy and relatively effortless learning and enjoyment of music will be an option for those children whose musical aptitude was bolstered by a rich musical environment in the earliest years of life.