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 perceive music in different perspectives as he crosses different phases of life. For instance, concerning 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 identify the abilities and knowledge that they expect students to learn. Likewise, educators must recognize the behaviors they expect their learners to engage in throughout the learning process. When learners are not fully engaged in these expected behaviors, educators need to be able to objectively define the expected conducts and the behaviors that need to be changed (Bicard et al, 2012). Nowadays, there are a lot of aspects that have a profound influence on children and music is one of those aspects that strongly impact on children and all of us. T. Mikushina supported that, “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 intellectual and academic prospective (The benefits of Music Education, 2014). Furthermore, educational researchers have enquired about what effects music education can have on child growth and some claimed to have found effects on cognitive growth, such as the rise of the ability to concentrate and academic achievement (Hogenes, Van Oers and Diekstra, 2014). Positive effects have also been found in the social and emotional domain (Elliott, 1995; Gardner, 2004). Additionally, educators working with young children caters for their overall education, which includes the thinking and feeling aspects of the child, as well as the psychomotor improvement of the child (Pica, 2009). According to Hallam (2010), in early childhood, music education 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 to acquire 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 domain of children.
Regular music activity of children impact on their academic success 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 mirrored in their behaviour (Králová, 2014, p. 123). Students who are involved in music activities dialog and co – operated more with their close relatives and teachers. Furthermore, achievement in music seems to increase general mental state of confidence and self-esteem which enhances motivation for study. Similarly, according to Pitts, being involved in music activities can facilitate the development of friendships, contributes to a better social environment 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 boosting the whole development and personal development 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 is included 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, students were exposed to some dance steps and this reinforced their notion of coordination in their movements and their knowledge 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 improve to their full potential because involvement in music is naturally rewarding, which is more likely to make children 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.