Why music is so important - by QEH Director of Music

Music funding in schools has been declining rapidly in recent years and Ofsted’s annual parent survey published on 30 April 2019 revealed that only 23% of parents believe music is sufficiently covered in their child’s education.

This is a real tragedy.  Not only are schools losing an enjoyable subject, but they are also losing the opportunity to enrich students’ lives and education.  Read on to learn why I believe music education is so important and why I am proud that QEH has invested close to £1million into the subject over the last five years.

Studies have found that musical training helps children to focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety as well as improving their ability to deal with anxiety when it does appear.  After all, performing a piece of music in front of an audience can in itself bring fear and anxiety.  Doing so teaches children how to take risks and deal with fear, and as a consequence, helps to build resilience.

With active encouragement from teachers and parents, students playing a musical instrument can build pride and confidence.  Children who take more than three years of training in music tend to have much higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem than those who have no training at all.  Those who learn to play an instrument also learn a valuable lesson in self-discipline, setting aside time to practise and rising to the challenge of developing their musical ability.

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements, improving motor skills.  The left side of your brain, related to language and reasoning, is also better developed with music and studying the subject improves the abstract spatial-temporal skills in children – the same skills found in subjects such as maths, engineering and art.

Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude towards learning and curiosity.  Artistic education develops a child’s imagination, encouraging them to think creatively and problem solve by thinking outside the box.

These are just some of the reasons that music is at the heart of school life at QEH, playing a key role both socially and academically.  For those pupils who have yet to discover their love of music, free taster lessons are offered at the school, with half price lessons during the first term. Those pupils who have already reached a certain standard may wish to apply for a music scholarship, available at 11+, 13+ and 16+ entry points.  You can be certain that with over 20 ensembles operating at the school, ranging from the chamber orchestra to the jazz band, there will be something that will interest you.

Mr Ed Gent

Director of Music

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