Does Music Help Children?

This question has been debated for as long as time has existed. Even the great Greek and Roman philosophers approached the question: is music something that should be taught and does it help the development of children?
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Plato answered "I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for in the patterns of music and all arts are the keys to learning." And again “what then is the education to be? Perhaps we could hardly find a better than that which the experience of the past has already discovered, which consists, I believe, in gymnastic, for the body, and music for the mind.”

In all cultures of the world music plays an important role. While these roles may change depending on the culture it is impossible to separate music from the life of an individual. While some may argue the role of music in our lives it is impossible to escape it. Even in the popular culture of Australia it is impossible to go shopping without hearing music. Music provides a means of communication and expression of culture and individual identity.

Children are immersed in music from birth and will be for their entire life. If this is the case why teach it? Is not the constant immersion in music enough? To this I say; is the fact that we witness the results of scientific principals on a day to day basis result in the understanding of those scientific principles? No it does not and likewise for music it does not either. The day to day encounters we have with music can move us but the understanding of this music can help us grow as individuals.

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