Due to the declining economy, school boards around the country have decided to cut funding to the music education programs. It is necessary to keep music education in the American school system because it enhances the development of skills that children will use for the rest of their lives.
Musical development can start as early as before birth. Hearing is the first sense that a baby acquires and it is acquired in utero (McCutcheon 1). The first sounds that a baby hears are the mother’s voice and her heartbeat (McCutcheon 1). These sounds are familiar to babies after they are born, which is why recordings of heartbeats are used to calm them (McCutcheon 1). After birth, a baby’s sense of hearing becomes sharper and they absorb many different sounds and learn about them (McCutcheon 1).
What distinguishes music from most other sounds that a baby hears is the beat (McCutcheon 1). The difference between the beat and rhythm is that lyrics of a song are sung in rhythm, and the beat is the steady pulse (McCutcheon 1). Jim McCutcheon says “When my wife was carrying our second son, we attended a nephew’s band concert – and my wife felt a definite response to the band’s drum section – every time they played, the baby started kicking!” The steady pulse of music, or the rhythm, can be learned at a very early age, and can be one of the first things a child learns (McCutcheon 1). “I’ve seen moms and dads holding babies and rocking them back and forth with the beat while listening to music – this simple activity teaches the baby a relationship between music and movement,” says Jim McCutcheon. Children mimic anything that can produce noise, like clapping their hands or tapping their feet (McCutcheon 1).
Paul Borgese says “We should encourage our children as early as possible to listen to and make music” (Borgese 1). Lee Ann Kinner says, “Children are never too young to experience music” (McCutcheon 2). Younger children can experience music by hearing it, feeling it, and by experimenting different pitches in their vocalizations (National Association for Music Education 2). Adults can encourage musical development in infants by singing to them, exposing them to different selections of music, and discussing music and its relations with expression and feeling (National Association for Music Education 2).
Music can be encouraged by parents in different ways. Jim McCutcheon says, “We decided to play classical guitar music for him [unborn son] in utero through headphones placed on her abdomen, and he came into the world very familiar with guitar sounds, and this began a lifelong enjoyment of guitar music!” It is very common to hear of mothers playing or listening to music while pregnant and it is evident that the child heard and remembered the music (McCutcheon 2). After birth and through childhood, children can learn musical elements through fingerplays like “eensy weensy spider” and by singing songs and being bounced on a parent’s knee (McCutcheon 2). John...