Professional musicians help children progress more quickly in the classroom

Importance of young children being taught music

Teacher training and music workshops show clear benefits according to study

A project that involved a mixture of concerts and workshops staged by professional musicians coupled with supportive training for teachers, resulted in a significant improvement in the performance of younger children in the classroom, according to a recent report on the TES website.

The article, by Helen Ward, observed that the trial, which was run by the charity Creative Futures, involved younger children singing, playing and dancing with musicians, with huge consequential improvements of behaviour as well as speaking and listening skills. Indeed, it

“…resulted in the children involved making on average three months’ more progress than expected in their speaking skills and two months’ more progress in behaviour and listening skills.”

Music for Change

The project was called Music for Change and included a number of key activities which were provided for 1,300 children and 19 nurseries, namely

  • Weekly workshops lead by a musician
  • Training sessions for teachers in order to enable them to embed music into the curriculum
  • Visits to live performances in the local area.

Project evaluation

The final report, carried out by researchers at the UCL Institute of Education and University of Roehampton, contains some very interesting observations including a statement from an Early Years Professional who was quoted as saying

“They’re making up their own music, their own songs: that’s something that I haven’t heard them do [before]. And because we’ve got the instruments in the room [now] they’re actually sitting down in groups of 3 or 4 playing different instruments but all singing the same song”.

The TES article played great emphasis on one particular conclusion of the final report, which clearly demonstrates the benefits that music in the classroom can provide for younger children.

“Not only have many children attended a musical performance, or taken part in high quality music-making, for the first time, but shy children have become more confident, language skills have improved, social and emotional interaction has been enhanced, and the workforce has been inspired to try new approaches.”

Music in the early years ‘helps children learn to listen and speak’ »