"Thus, if a very young child has no opportunity to develop a music-listening vocabulary, the cells that would have been used to establish that hearing sense will at best be directed to another sense, perhaps the visual, and the visual sense will be strengthened at the expense of the aural sense. No amount of compensatory education at a later time will be able to completely offset the handicap." (Reynolds et al., 1).
I found this quote particularly interesting and eye opening as I, like most people, had not realized the power or importance of early music education. While I do believe that early music education is important, I had previously viewed it as a stepping stone to later music appreciation and performance. I think that it is very fascinating that a child's musical aptitude can be lost without the proper stimulation before age 9. I, like most people, had felt that musical ability could be shaped by participants entering the field after age 9 to the same extent that it can with children entering the field before age 9, but the research to the contrary is compelling. On another note, too, even after reading these few short passages on this research, I have gained a much greater respect and appreciation for early music educators in that without them, I would not be fortunate enough to be in the position that I am in now--a lifelong appreciator, performer, and educator of music.
This rings true of the next quote, too, in that " Without sensitive parents, caregivers, and teachers, children are left to their own devices to develop their music potentials, and without early guidance in music, most children will never achieve the music understanding and enjoyment that is rightfully theirs" (Reynolds et al., 6). Again, even though I can not remember much of my general music education, without the dedication of those teachers and their competence in their field, I would not be able to enjoy the same musical appreciation and musical ability that I have.
One final quote that I found particularly interesting was from the MENC position statement. "Time should be made available during the day for activities in which music is the primary focus of attention for its own value" (MENC, 21). I really appreciated this quote from the position statement as I agree that music should be taught for the sake of music, especially taking into mind the fact that music aptitude drops before age 9 without proper stimulation in the form of musical play.
In all, this week, I feel that the readings have compelled me, thankfully, to gain a deeper appreciation and respect for just how important early music education actually is in the overall development of a child into a lifelong musician or music appreciator and supporter.
Alison Reynolds et al. Music Play. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1998.
MENC. MENC Position Statement on Early Childhood Education. Soundpost. Reston: MENC. Winter 1992