Senior Project Research Paper- Jordan New 2011-2012
Jordan NewNovember 15, 2011Corbett 4th PeriodSenior Project Paper One heated topic across the United States is whether the benefits of music, theater, and childcare are significant enough to make an impact on children’s lives. When funds are cut fromschool or other organizations, it is usually the fine arts department that is cut off first. Thesebudget cuts could be depriving children of not only fun experiences, but the imperative learningskills that are involved. Music is defined by wordIQ as “a word whose accepted definitions varywith time, place and culture,” and then further goes on to categorize it as organized sound,subjective experience, a category of perception, and a social construct (“Music- Definition”).This is one display of the universality that makes music able to connect with different culturesand people all across the United States. The continuity of music makes its benefits able to reachall children, if the opportunity is made available for them. It is easily seen that music, theater,and child care are positive experiences for all children. One popular type of child care chosen by parents is summer camps. Not only do theyprovide a safe environment for children during the summer while parents work and get dailyerrands completed, but they are a fun and educational activity for them to acquire new skills,meet new friends, and become more comfortable in an out-of-home environment. Some arguethat this is essential for children development. For example, AncaGheaus argues that “there is aduty to ensure that care for all children older than one be shared between parents and people whocome into children’s lives as strangers but who are prepared and willing to develop caring
relationships with them,” portraying the need for nonparent relationships and the ability to trustthose unfamiliar to them (Gheaus). If this skill is not comprehended at a young age, futurerelationships may be affected. Social skills are built when relationships are formed, so theyounger children are able to depend on people other than their parents, the better. One study byJane Waldfogel concludes that childcare after the child is at least one year old has provedhelpful. This is, however, with the assumption that the center of care meets the correct criteria(Gheaus). The main need for child care is “children’s and parents’needs, fairness, and a generalduty to protect children from unacceptableforms of dependency. Taken together, these argumentsshow that parents do not have the moral right to exclude their children from nonparental care”(Gheaus). It is easily seen that child care is essential for the upbringing of children. Its benefitsare plentiful and prominent. Not only does it make children feel more comfortable in foreignenvironments, but it develops them socially while giving parents a break. “Children aredependent on adults’ care if their needs for security, nourishment, hygiene, affection,socialization, and basic education are to be met. Since it shapes their bodies, personalities, andvarious abilities, the care they receive is crucial in determining their opportunities, both aschildren and as future adults” (Gheaus). Combining the physical, emotional, and psychologicalbenefits with the benefits of music and theater will create the ultimate learning experience forchildren in an educationally stimulating environment. The continual argument over whether music education is important and effective for childrenhas been around for years. Budget cuts diminish the availability and emphasis put on the arts inschools even though it is not something that should easily be dismissed from children’s lives.Regarding the cognitive and academic benefits of music education, studies have been conductedand observations prove that music is mentally stimulating. “Proponents for the Mozart effect
claim that performance on tasks of spatiotemporal reasoning may be improved for ten to fifteenminutes immediately after listening to part of a Mozart piano sonata or similar complex music”(Črnčec, Wilson, and Prior). The Mozart Effect is one example of studies being performed inevaluation of music on willing participants, including children. Another common observationamong musically inclined individuals is their academic potential that parallels their musicalabilities. It is typically seen that students in the fine arts that have been taught music theoryalong with simple music skills have more achievements in the classroom. Experiments havebeen made to prove these observations, such as the studies carried out by Hetland, who took asample of seven hundred and one children aged three to twelve undergoing music lessons andobserved their cognitive skills. The study found that “there appears to be a medium to largeeffect of music lessons on spatiotemporal ability” (Črnčec, Wilson, and Prior). Other observationsregarding education and music have been made regarding children. Special needs students areoften put into music programs in order to create happy environments that have also been shownto improve their mental functions with special techniques. Along with special needs students, “amore recent study has found that economically disadvantaged children who had two years ofmusical training performed better than controls on tests of arithmetic” (Črnčec, Wilson, and Prior).Music has been proven to help children of all situations, and acts as a fun, educational way forthem to meet new people, widen their interests, and become talented in a unique, substantialarea. Combined with child care, the positive outcomes are numerous. “Music lessons designedto developauditory, visual and motor skills have benefited reading skillschildren’s engagementwith the Kodaly method has improved reading andarithmetic and there is evidence that there areincreases inchildren’s Intelligence Quotient when they engage in practical music makingalthough
not all of the evidence supports these findings,” (Kokotsaki and Hallam). All of these studies andobservations serve as prime examples that music can help the development of children greatly. Along with music and child care, theater is another way for children to receive treatmentthey need in an enjoyable manner. According to Amy Jensen, “Arts education, including theatereducation, not only has relevance for today’s young people but is also uniquely positioned tosubstantially contribute to the new forms of literacy that are essential to navigating ourcontemporary culture,” (Jensen). Theater is used in literature classes across America, whether itis Shakespeare’s classics or a more modern Ibsen. Plays express universal themes and helpchildren understand the continuity throughout history. Also, actually acting out the plays andmaking them come to life is beneficial to children. This is seen in Dewey’s “practical andexperiential educationmovement, which required students to learn by doing. [It] embraced amimeticeducational context that requiredboth the theater student and teacher toembrace neweducational theater literacy” (Jensen). This movement creates new boundaries of learning in theclassroom and has proved helpful for those participating. Also, social skills are developed whenkids experience acting. Learning to project your voice and making a statement can teach a shychild to be more comfortable with themselves and more comfortable around others (Appleton).Another thing that has been discovered is the emotional tension that is released when childrenparticipate in theater because of the form of escape that it provides. Theater provides an outletfor children to express themselves creatively. Not only is it used by drama teachers, but it isused by literature teachers to expand their techniques. “These educatorsrecognize theater as aneffectivemodality for teaching concepts inherent in their fields of study” (Jenson). Furtherdevelopment and understanding of characters takes place when a play is being acted out. To getthe full meaning of the author, actors look into the backgrounds of each character, the history of
their time period, why they say what they say, and why they do what they do. Not only does thislead to a better more believable performance, but it enables the student to learn the play ingreater depth. It is easily seen that theater benefits children not only socially but educationallyand should be used by programs nationwide as a fun way of development. When viewing music and theater benefits along with child care, the question of age isbrought up. Researchers have found a significant amount of positive information regarding theeffects music and theater have when experienced at a young age, especially outside of the homeenvironment. “In 2001, de lEtoile developed an in-service music-training program for child carepersonnel working with infants and toddlers and found that when caregivers received thistraining, the children in their care demonstrated increases in visual, vocal, and physicalengagement behaviors,” (McDowell). The benefits of music are most effective at a young age.When children are in early development their brains absorb everything around them and can takein a lot more information with greater ease. This means that they get all the benefits found forchildren in camps, but it has an even greater outcome. The Perry Preschool Project, which“followed children in different preschool programs from age three through adulthood, haveshown us that these early educational experiences significantly impact the long-term direction ofchildrens development” (Fox). Young children keep their early childhood experiences withthem for the rest of their life. Exposure to music, theater and social development in early childcare will result in a better life once grown. “Community music began with the pockets of immigrants who settled in variousparts of the United States” and has grown into a nationwide tool for enhancement of ourchildren’s cognitive, psychological, and social skills (Leglar and Smith). There has beenimprovement in the areas of Self-Esteem, memory, academic performance, teamwork, discipline,
and enjoyment (Holt). It is obvious that the performing arts are very important for children andcan help them lead enhanced adult lives. Child care enables social skills such as trust to developwith ease, Music coincides with intelligence and higher cognitive skills, and theater developssocial skills along with confidence.
Works CitedČrnčec, Rudi, Sarah Wilson, and Margot Prior. “The Cognitive and Academic Benefits of Music to Children: Facts and fiction.” Educational Psychology 26.4 (2006): 579-594. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ detail?vid=3&hid=21&sid=dc107244-445c-47f6-83ea- c5bfe405127e%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=218 07053>.Appleton, Samantha. “The Importance of Music Education.”Essortment.N.p., Summer 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.essortment.com/importance-music-education-60670.html>.Fox, Donna Brink. “Music and the Baby’s Brain.”Music Educators Journal 87.2 (2000): 23. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=c840ca4b- 388f-412e-9bcf- 6665a3bd9467%40sessionmgr10&vid=3&hid=21&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d# db=a9h&AN=3503754>.Gheaus, Anca. “Argument for Nonparental Care for Children .”Social Theory & Practice 37.3 (2011): 483- 509. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ detail?sid=5a438c37-86c9-498b-903b- cb370a7b8a2b%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=21&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d# db=a9h&AN=64873880>.Holt, Sarah J. “Benefits of Music Education for Children.” EzineArticles.N.p., 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://ezinearticles.com/?Benefits-of-Music-Education-For-Children&id=1569005>.
Jensen, Amy Petersen. “Multimodal Literacy and Theater Education.”Arts Education Policy Review 109.5 (2008): 19-28. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ ehost/detail?sid=aa39d0dc-8c81-49dd-82a5- 4b8ae570d80a%40sessionmgr12&vid=1&hid=21&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d# db=a9h&AN=32517647>.Kokotsaki, Dimitra, and Susan Hallam.“High education music students’ perceptions of the benefits of participative music making.”Music Education Research 9.1 (2007): 93-109. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ detail?vid=5&hid=21&sid=dc107244-445c-47f6-83ea- c5bfe405127e%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=240 78456>.Leglar, Mary A, and David S Smith. “Community Music in the United States: An overview of origins and evolution.” International Journal of Community Music 3.3 (2010): 343-353. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=b9122e75-0a1e- 492d-b505- fe694fcb6306%40sessionmgr15&vid=3&hid=21&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#d b=a9h&AN=55703979>.McDowell, Carol. “Parents’ Viewpoints Concerning the Value of Preschool Summer Camps.”General Music Today 22.1 (2008): 19-23. Academic Search Complete.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=7f116c21-e652-4cc7-a4f1- 4790ceee315c%40sessionmgr12&vid=1&hid=21&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#d b=a9h&AN=34501582>.“Music- Definition.”WordIQ.N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Music>.