Free Essay: Impact of Musical Interventions on Language and Cognitive Development

Published: 2022-04-07 07:42:54
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Music training increases brain functions and structures (Herholz, 2012, Tirovolas and Levitin, 2009, Pa-tel, 2003, 2010, Schellenberg, 2004, Roberts, 2009), including language processing (Besson and Schon, 2001; Schlaug, Marchina, and Norton, 2009; Patel and Iversen, 2007; Trollinger, 2003). The need to address the literacy of children in the preschool period take into account that the precursors of formal reading have their origins in the early stages of the child's life and depend to a large extent on the intervention processes. In other words, the ability to learn is linked to what the mediator does, which stands between the child and the world to make it intelligible (Bruner, 1986, Lautrey, 1985, Adams, 1990, Graves, Neuman & Dickinson, 2003, Juel& Graves, 2000).

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There has considerable research that shows the benefits of musical training in linguistic development is (Koelsh et al., 2002, Moreno et al., 2011). Music education in early childhood is relevant to all the child's linguistic abilities, which are mostly developed around the age of five (Perlovsky, 2010). The age at which musical training begins can be a significant factor of influence (Jentschke and Koelsch, 2009, Schellenberg, 2001). In this way, music can facilitate expressive language in children with difficulties as well as in children with a normalized development (Corriveau and Goswami, 2009, Schlaug, 2010, and Vitoria, 2005). It can also help the development of receptive language in early childhood because the child can better understand the meaning of a word when experimenting with a musical movement or a song (Pica, 2009).

A study that involved 6-15yr olds showed that early musical lessons improved the verbal memory (Ho, Cheung, and Chan, 2003) and can also influence the development of the receptive language of children at risk of experiencing retracing in language (Seeman, 2008). In the same vein, children who take musical lessons from an early age of six decode the speech prosody more quickly than those who do not receive such musical lessons (Thompson, Schellenberg, and Husain, 2004). According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998, children take their initial critical steps towards learning to read and write in their pre-school years. It is necessary to implement appropriate strategies to reduce the appearance of later difficulties.

Studies suggest that the child's oral language skills in preschool predict future reading (Dickinson and McCabe, 2001, Hammer, Farkas, and Maczuga, 2010). Music training can be a successful strategy to exert a positive impact on these skills because it allows children to practice reading skills at school (Benedett, Brown, and Armistead, 2010; Dixon, 2008). In their study, Levi, Anvary, Trainor, and Wo-odside, (2002) found a strong relationship between the development of musical skills, reading, and phonological awareness in five-year-old children. Likewise, Costa-Giomi, Herrera, Defior, Lorenzo, and Fernandez-Smith, (2011) found that musical training also influences the development of phonological awareness and the velocity of naming in children of child education.

Students with an early and continuous musical training have a more developed verbal memory than those who started later or whose formation was discontinuous (Franklin et al., 2008; Legg, 2009). Many early childhood education programs do not have a staff of music education teachers. In many early childhood education schools, classroom teachers are responsible for conducting musical activities (Custo-dero, Fox, Nardo, and, Persellin, 2006, Siebena-ler, 2006). In this sense, the musical formation within the curricula of infant education and primary education is an essential component of music education (Koops, 2008). Many teachers use songs and movement activities on a daily basis and value music as a critical tool for learning, but recognize that music education teachers are better prepared to employ these techniques (Hennessy, 2000; Button, 2006).

These teachers appreciate the use of music in their classes (Kim and Choy, 2008, Lum, 2008) mainly because they understand that music can have a positive influence in other academic areas (Hash, 2010). However, many teachers lack confidence in their singing skills and therefore avoid the use of music (Heyning, 2011; Siebena-ler, 2006). Several studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of music education on the cognitive development of children in early childhood education, especially in the field of language. It was hypothesized in one of the studies (Lucia Herrera, Marta Hernandez-Candelas, Oswaldo Lorenzo, 2014) that the language development scores of the children in the experimental group, who received formal music lessons from trained early childhood teachers, would be higher than those from the control group.

The results from the study indicated that continued formal music education improved early childhood development in the scores assessed through the baton of the Child Observation Record (COR). The statistically significant differences were observed concretely in the domains Creative re-presentation, Music and movement, language, and Logical Thinking. Although the scores in the COR for both the control and experimental groups increased over time, the scores of the experimental group were consistently higher. These findings are similar to those found by researchers from other studies, which conclude that music could influence cognitive domains (Herholz and Za-torre, 2012, Han-non and Trainor, 2007, Hyde et al., 2009; Pa-tel and Iversen, 2007; Schellenberg, 2001) and especially in the development of language (Besson and Schon, 2001, Anvari et al., 2002, Patel and Iversen, 2007, Schellenberg , 2004 Jentschke and Koelsch, 2009).

Regarding language proficiency, significant differences were reached in all evaluation moments from the beginning of the training, except tests done on school break. From a practical point of view, this means that while the students were participating in musical activities that included singing, chanting, playing instruments and to understand musical concepts such as slow or fast, they were also developing their linguistic skills. In this way, according to Perlovsky (2010) and Le-vinowitz (2009), the results of the studies suggest that formal musical instruction can support cognitive change and language development, and is a very valuable tool for all young children. Curiously, significant differences were not achieved between tests done while the kids were on a break in the four-month school between the tests. It is very probable that the students did not receive any classes during the summer recess period and, consequently, their development was negatively influenced.

Many studies have demonstrated that students of the experimental group scored higher than those of the control group, on most occasions, in each language category. Regarding the children of a population at risk, the significant differences for receptive language support Seeman's (2008) perspective regarding that music classes could have a specific impact on receptive language by fostering students' self-esteem and increasing their understanding of language. The increase in student scores could be associated with the fact that they were older and therefore more uncompromising and also that in the second year of the study the quality of music teaching was higher because the teachers had more experience in this area. Having confidence in their teaching skills as well as a firm conviction that music favors academic skills could also have affected the performance of teachers (Hash, 2010). This could have had an impact on the teaching styles of many teachers, allowing them to integrate music into the curriculum from the beginning of the second year and in this way influence the performance of the children.

A study done by Lorenzo (2014) observed that more students in the experimental group were able to create more songs after incorporation of musical learning. Given that the use of creativity is the second standard for NAFME music education (MENC, 1994) and that it was included throughout the musical activities during the study, it seems logical to conclude that the music education can be in the same beneficial sense for the development of the creative linguistic abilities. The use of music in the development of expressive language is well documented (Wan et al., 2010) and the outcomes of the collective research support its use and consequential advancement of the students learning. Music has been known to help build children listening skills (Wolf, 1992). Musical training activities help learners to develop listening skills, which provide the foundation for language development (Smith, 1992).

About literacy skills, it has been demonstrated that oral language skills in preschool children are predictive of future reading (Dickinson and McCabe, 2001; Hammer et al. 2010). This could also have influenced scores of interest in reading activities, as well as scores at the beginning of the reading of stories and simple books and demonstration of knowledge about books. This reinforces the findings of previous studies, which suggest that the formal musical education that integrates singing and playing an instrument from an early age makes it possible for the child's brain to be prepared for reading (Dixon, 2008). Also, it supports the results of Herrera et al. (2011), who propose that early interventions using music are a vital component in the development of reading. Butzlaff (2000) found that there is a reliable and strong correlation between the reading score of students who participated in music and those who didn't.

In his analysis of 25 studies about music and literacy, he observed that music improved reading skills and comprehension capacity of the students about those without music. The training of teachers in the study was directed towards compensating for their lack of adequate knowledge in music education (Nardo et al., 2006), the need to be intensively trained (Siebenaler, 2006), and the need to increase their levels of self-confidence when developing musical activities (Hennessy, 2000, Holden and Button, 2006). These results can be interpreted as a reflection of the process of improving the quality of music teaching in their classes. It also indicates that teachers who are not specialists in music education can teach necessary musical skills in the courses if they are previously trained.

The music training program developed, "Musical awakening," was aligned with the standards of music education performance (Music Educators National Conference on Performance Standards, 1996), the HighScope curriculum (HighScope Preschool Curriculum) and the objectives of Head Start (Lebron, 2006). In this way, it was a training program adapted to the musical activities that it is necessary to develop in the classroom from the preschool curriculum. The teachers were able to work consistently on musical skills at least three times a week with their students and enabled their students to improve in all domains. It can be assumed, then, that after receiving training and mentoring, teachers will gain a greater understanding of their musicality and ability to teach (Koops, 2008). Therefore, the quality of his teaching improved over time and, consequently, the scores of his students increased as his musical teaching skills improved.

Children transfer between schools and varying teacher enthusiasm were presented as major limitations in assessing the impact of music on children literacy in several studies. In their study (Lucia Herrera, Marta Hernandez-Candelas, Oswaldo Lorenzo, 2014) variations were noted during the two years of the research where children were changed to different classes w...

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