OUR EDUCATIONAL ETHOS
THE VALUE OF MUSIC
J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, once declared ‘if you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing’. In this simple statement Barrie touched on the magical power of music to transport us to another place. It is obvious for all to see the joyful exuberance music brings to the individual or the group. There are also numerous educational and developmental benefits to be gained from active participation in music.
Recent research emphasises the value of music participation throughout childhood and identifies these benefits:
- Language and Literacy: Singing assists the development of speech, and contributes to a child’s reading skills.
- Mathematics: Music can promote an intuitive understanding of essential mathematical concepts.
- Intellectual: Music can help improve a child’s ability to reason abstractly by increasing the interconnections between brain cells.
- Social: Participation in music helps children to develop higher levels of social cohesion and understanding of themselves and others, including the development of empathy.
- Emotional: Music encourages self-expression and self-confidence.
- Creative: Music stimulates a child’s imagination.
To assist in achieving these outcomes we use the following approach.
Children are actively encouraged to sing during the show. CDs of our music and copies of the lyrics are available on request.
All of our songs are original compositions. They are highly melodic, lyrically inspiring and encourage movement. Our use of repetitive refrains such as ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ or ‘save every drop’ facilitates participation by enabling children to easily sing along.
Movement and Music:
Our shows are energetic, and children are encouraged to dance and perform actions to the songs. Such active participation harnesses creative energy enhancing social, physical, cognitive and language development.
Changes in the tempo of the music, the pitch and the volume create the necessary dynamics to encourage the development of listening skills. The use of sound effects, and open-ended questions further serves to facilitate concentration skills and deep learning.
Simple percussion instruments are provided to promote active participation and assist in the development of fine motor skills.
Our shows are highly visual. The use of brightly coloured costumes and props, together with high-energy movement, provides an exciting aesthetic setting to ensure children are fully engaged.
In the final analysis:
The ancient Greeks believed music should be at the centre of any serious education. Whatever the educational benefits of music, we must also never lose sight of the fact that the simple joy of music is enough in itself. As the rock musician Sting so eloquently put it – ‘music brings its own rewards’.