Music classes at school have traditionally been equated to FREE periods. It is a time for children to let their hair down, switch off, and relax. After all, this is the one class where they don’t have to memorise anything and where exams don’t decide their advancement through the school grades.
So, this may beg the question, “Should children learn music at school?” After all, there are several music academies that offer music education for children. Isn’t school just a place of formal education to get hard skills that will make children employable? Does it make sense to include music classes in school in such a scenario? Yes it does! So says the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. And with good reason.
Let’s explore the rationale. First, what does the new NEP say about arts and music education? What are the benefits of music for children? And then, why should music be taught in schools? And can children really learn music in school? We’ll delve into how music is not just a free period to while away the time of day. It can actually shape your child’s creativity, capability, and, ultimately, career.
NEP 2020 and music education
The new NEP 2020 has emphasised the importance of holistic education in the academic training of students to realistically prepare them to face life’s challenges. It follows a multidisciplinary approach that allows students to pursue studies in arts, humanities, sports, mathematics, science, commerce, music, and film, among a host of options. Interestingly, the NEP has embraced arts, which includes performing, media and visual arts as it believes that it can effectively complement and supplement the science subjects.
There is now a framework for musically-inclined children to pursue music as part of their studies. Both music and dance will now be offered in Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs) as an elective course in schools and colleges. This is a big boost for students to explore professions in music and performing arts and will help culture flourish amongst the next generation.
Why is music education important?
Music has been included in the school curriculum because of its multiple benefits. Music helps develop a number of life skills in children from motor and physical skills to social and emotional skills. Children learn languages, and improve their communication, interaction, and creative skills. Music also helps increase their memory power and develop their cognitive abilities.
Some of the life skills that help in the long run include hard work, discipline, dedication, creativity, single-minded focus, team work, compassion, empathy, language development, and motor skills – to name just a few.
Read more about all the benefits of music for children.
Okay, so even if music is beneficial for students, why include them during school hours? Interested children can always join private classes. Well, school is a place where children go to develop different skills which will help them in their adult years. If left to themselves, some children may not have the ability or inclination to learn music. To ensure that no child misses out on the holistic benefits of music education, this has been made a part and parcel of the school curriculum.
Advantages of learning music in school
There are many practical and logistical reasons for children to learn music at school.
1. NEP-compliant system
The New National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has underlined the importance of arts, (of which music is one of the listed subjects), in mainstream education. Including music in the school curriculum ensures that schools conform to the NEP.
2. Thrust of STEAM education
Globally, the education system is increasingly emphasising on STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) as opposed to STEM education. Music is a natural addition to the arts subjects. So, by learning music as a part of the school curriculum, children are exposed to the global approach to holistic learning.
3. Access to all
Music (especially classical music and dance) has been a part of most of our childhoods – at the very least children have been exposed to film music. But if learning music is left to the knowledge and interest of parents, a child may or may not benefit from music education. Also, some children may not explore their creative and musical side without a nudge. So, one of the most important benefits of including music in the school curriculum is that all children have access to music.
4. Added skills
Whether it is playing instruments, learning vocals, practising voice range and pitch, writing songs, or producing and composing music, children pick up valuable, new skills.These skill sets will throw open a host of career prospects for children in an ever-changing world.
Can all children learn music?
SaPa’s CEO Bindu Subramaniam, who has decades of experience in the music industry as a performer, singer, songwriter, and educator firmly believes, “Every child is musical.” It is possible that not all children know about their interest in music; some may lack the requisite resources and exposure to systematically develop this interest. Others may consider music education an optional part of learning. So, including it in the school curriculum is the best way to explore a child’s music quotient.
5. Exposure to culture
Music classes ensure that children are aware of the varied cultural practices within the country and around the globe. This builds tolerance, acceptance, inclusiveness, and camaraderie among the vast diversity around them. Children also learn new languages and assimilate different practices. In a school atmosphere, where children are likely to come from varied backgrounds, it helps students bond and understand their classmates and their customs.
Children are already in an educational institute, a place of learning, so it makes logistical sense to learn music in school. It saves time spent on travelling to another academy to learn. As an added bonus, parents also get a breather as they don’t have to ferry children to classes.
7. Increases productivity
Music classes are a source of inspiration to children; they become creative, and think differently and freely. Music is also a great destresser, which serves as a refreshing break to children.
Students use both the left (logical) and right (creative) side of their brain when they participate in music classes. The left side helps them understand song structure while the right side helps them appreciate melody. Ultimately, don’t be surprised if your kids are more productive and attentive in their other classes as a result!
8. Familiar atmosphere
Some children may be shy and introverted, which prevents them from exploring music. But when they see their friends participate in musical activities, they lose their own inhibitions and join in. This conducive learning atmosphere might not be possible outside school as some children might resist separate music lessons.
Challenges of learning music in school
As not all children show explicit interest in music, it is possible that they will neglect learning even at school. (However, it is important to add that this could happen with any class, not just a music class.) They might treat the music class as a free period. Also, it is difficult to manage and motivate a large group of children at the same time. Learning largely depends on a child’s ability and active interest.
Tip: Music classes have to be activity-driven in a classroom atmosphere. This will ensure that all children participate and enjoy themselves. The key is interactive sessions with age-appropriate learning outcomes.
Why SaPa in Schools (SiS)
- SaPa in Schools (SiS) is an in-schools programme that ensures that children learn vocal music through a planned, structured, well-researched, in house syllabus that conforms to NEP.
- Its approach takes the STEAM system of education forward as students have a chance to pursue arts in consonance with science subjects.
- Students are exposed to Indian as well as global music from places like Africa and South America; they also learn 10 different languages in the process.
- The syllabus includes age-wise learning goals which make the classes productive and interesting.
- Most importantly, children have a lot of fun learning!
What skill is required for the future?
Do you know what skill will your child require in the future? Which form of education will make them job-ready, future-ready, catastrophe or adversity-ready? Frankly speaking, this probably requires an astrologer if you are a believer! What you can do to ensure your child is ‘ready & prepared’ is to teach them life skills. Skills that music has been known to develop. They can and should learn music in school. So, go for it. Ensure your kids learn music today. Make them capable of taking on challenges and raring to make a splash in the world tomorrow!
Your school can contact SiS today to partner with us and offer this wholesome education to all students. Join SiS now!
If you are a parent interested in ensuring your child learns music the right way under certified and professional musicians and singers with a 360 degree idea of music, both Indian and global, know more about SaPa’s live classes and self-paced classes now!