As said by Plato, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”(Praise and Meenakshi, 2015, p.245)
Music can be defined as a pattern of sounds made by musical instruments, voices, or computers, or a combination of these, intended to give pleasure to people listening to it . Moreover, music can also be viewed as an art. In relation to that, Levinson suggested that music are “sounds organised at a given period of time by a person for the purpose of enriching or intensifying experience through active engagement (Levinson, 1990, p.273). Music plays a significant part in an individual’s life regardless his or her culture. Usually, an individual can see music in different standpoints as he crosses different stages of life. For instance, for children, music is much more related to fun and to make them sleep (Praise and Meenakshi, 2015). However, music education can be considered as a powerful tool for achieving children’s full intellectual, social and creative potential (The benefits of Music Education, 2014) which could eventually impact on the behaviour of children.
Behaviour is defined as the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others . Furthermore, it is something that a person does that can be observed, measured, and repeated (Bicard et al, 2012, p.3). Before starting to teach, educators must outline the skills and knowledge that they expect students to learn. Likewise, educators must recognize the behaviors they expect their students to engage in during the learning process. When students are not fully engaged in these expected behaviors, educators need to be able to objectively define the expected behaviors and the behaviors that need to be changed (Bicard et al, 2012). Nowadays, there are a lot of factors that have a profound effect on our children and music is one of those factors that strongly influence children and all of us. According to T. Mikushina, “Music is a flow of energy (Georgieva, 2017, p. 329). It guides our emotions, reason, and mood which will ultimately shape our behavior.
Daniel Levitin stated that “Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that we know about, and nearly every neural subsystem” (Levitin, 2006, p.299). Research is showing that learning to play an instrument leads to changes in a child’s brain that make it more likely they will reach their full cognitive and academic potential (The benefits of Music Education, 2014). Furthermore, educational scientists have addressed the question of what effects music education can have on child development and some claimed to have found effects on cognitive growth, such as the increase of the ability to concentrate and academic achievement (Hogenes, Van Oers and Diekstra, 2014). Positive effects have also been reported in the social and emotional domain (Elliott, 1995; Gardner, 2004). Additionally, teachers who work with young children educate the whole child, which includes not only the thinking and feeling aspects of the child, but also the psychomotor development of the child (Pica, 2009). According to Hallam (2010), in early childhood, teaching music seem to be beneficial for the development of perceptual skills which affect language learning and which afterwards impact on literacy. Likewise, opportunities to be able to coordinate rhythmically also seem important for the acquisition of literacy skills. Fine motor coordination is also enhanced through learning to play an instrument. Music also seems to improve spatial reasoning, one aspect of general intelligence, which is related to some of the skills required in mathematics (Hallam, 2010, p. 281 – 282). Subsequently, we can observe that music education caters for cognitive, affective as well as psychomotor development of children.
Regular music activity of children impact on their academic achievement and might contribute to improved self – esteem and augmented motivation of pupils. Motivation is crucial in how well students perform at school. According to Hallam, frequent music activity is related to self – perceptions of ability, self – efficacy, and aspirations. If engagement with music improves positive self – perception, this can further boost motivation. Music can have positive effects on personal and social development of children which is reflected in their behaviour (Králová, 2014, p. 123). Students who are engaged in music activities talk and co – operated more with their parents and teachers. Furthermore, achievement in music seems to increase general feelings of confidence and self-esteem which enhances motivation for study. Similarly, according to Pitts, being involved in music activities can ease the development of friendships, contributes to a better social climate in classroom, pupils’ confidence and sense of belonging which has impact on other activities (Králová, 2014, p. 124).
In the National Curriculum Framework Grades 1 to 6 (2015), it is argued that the primary curriculum aims at encouraging the holistic development and personal growth of the child through the addition of the Arts (Creative Art, Music, Dance and Drama), Health and Physical Education and Values & Citizenship Education (National Curriculum Framework Grades 1 to 6, 2015, p.5). Music education forms part of the primary curriculum and students are exposed to music as a subject where they learn the basic knowledge concerning Asian and Western music. Music is the resource that enables people to express feelings, communicate and react. For example songs can help an individual to get deep inside him or her and to communicate with his or her emotions directly. Consequently, during my classes, I personally try to integrate music in the other Holistic Education’s subject areas as well, for example, during one Drama lesson, the students were asked to listen carefully to a music and then move according to the music. The activity was really interesting as the students were eager to participate. Another example, was during one Physical Education class where the students were exposed to some Zumba steps and this reinforces their notion of coordination in their movements and their understanding of rhythm. Therefore, through the use of music, the students are more motivated and this could be seen in their behavior as they are less disruptive and more active in the class activities.
In the light of the above, we can conclude that the overall development of children is affected by music education. Musically – trained children develop to their full potential because participation in music is naturally rewarding, making children more likely to devote the time and practice necessary to develop strong cognitive, social and psychomotor abilities. Moreover, through music students’ self – esteem and self – confidence is enhanced which consequently boost children’s level of motivation and hence have an impact of their behaviour.