Research Encourages Focus on Music and the Arts to Enhance Early Childhood Development
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, states, "Studying music encourages self discipline and diligence traits that carry over into mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history and geography." Research supports that music helps prepare the mind for specific disciplines of learning; skills learned through music carry over into study skills, communications skills, cognitive skills and abstract reasoning skills useful to all parts of life, according to a 1997 article in Neurological Research.
Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect, traced neurological development during childhood and found prior to a major spurt of neural integration in the brain during the elementary school years, learning occurs through movement and quick emotional associations. For example, by age two, the brain has begun to fuse with the body via marching, dancing, and developing a sense of physical rhythm. The more music children are exposed to before they enter school, the more deeply this stage of neural coding will assist them throughout their lives.
Findings from a study conducted by three researchers at Sam Houston State University in Texas reports that early music training can improve intelligence, and the amount of parental involvement in the music training can greatly affect the amount of improvement. Strong correlations were found between musical abilities in young children, particularly the ability to match vocal pitches and reproduce rhythmic patterns and abstract reasoning abilities.
The study also showed that parental time spent with a child is a more important factor in predicting intelligence test success than such factors as single-parent households, poverty, low parental education levels and ethnic minority status.
Arts education makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the "learning field" across socio-economic boundaries, states the Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School, James S. Catterall, The UCLA Imagination Project, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA, Americans for the Arts Monograph, January 1998.
Arts education has a measurable impact on youth at risk in deterring delinquent behavior and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance among those youth engaged in after school and summer arts programs targeted toward delinquency prevention, according to the YouthARTS Development Project, 1996, U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts.