Friday, November 16, 2007

Making a pitch for music

Published Monday October 8, 2007

Music is a mind-builder.

Research has found that playing a musical instrument activates parts of the brain involved with logic, creativity and emotions, said Lance Nielsen, president of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and a Lincoln high school band teacher. By contrast, people solving math problems or building things by hand use only the logical, left side of their brains. "That says a lot about music, how important it is," Nielsen said. Joan Reist of Lincoln, a past president of the Music Teachers National Association, said a foundation for music education can begin when children are babies and toddlers, with activities geared to a child's mental and physical development. Families can provide this themselves or join in a group experience with such parent-child activities as Kindermusik or performance-oriented Suzuki programs, Reist said.

For a more traditional approach to formal music education, starting at about age 7, both Nielsen and Reist like the piano. That's because it teaches a child how to read music — both the bass and treble clefs — as well as the principles of melody, harmony and rhythm.Although starting early is great, it's never too late, said Nielsen. "Anyone can play a musical instrument. It just takes a little time." — Staff writer Jane Palmer

No comments: