Experiment: The development of children’s brain, language and social learning.
This experiment was designed to show how music helps in the development of children’s brain, language and social learning. The hypothesis was chosen to demonstrate the positive influence of music in early childhood. The study evaluated the performance of 100 pre-school children as they sing and learn through songs and how it impacts on their learning outcomes. The participants were monitored for 2-hour periods twice a week in a pre-school environment and compared to another group of children that stayed at home and watched television most of the time. Learning outcomes for the two groups of children were tested and the results were consistent with the original hypothesis. The study showed that children exposed to music through their life are more successful in school and life than those that watch television and play video games during normal hours. The developmental implications are long lasting and will affect their leadership abilities in future.
Analysis of presentation
The study was conducted on 100 children (40 boys, 60 girls) aged between 3 to 5 years in a day-care facility in Naples, Florida. 80% of participants were white, 12% Hispanic, 6% Black, and 2% Asian all with a mean age of 4.4 years. The experiment compared the learning outcomes for children who attend pre-school and those that stay at home during this period. The outcome was that children learn better through music than through conventional means. Furthermore, they develop useful skills that will make them better leaders as compared to the other group not exposed to music. The information from this experiment is useful in many ways. It helps in the formulation of effective teaching curricula for maximum benefit to both children and teachers. It also underscores the importance of pre-school learning in contributing to giving children a firm foundation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
The results of this study were consistent with findings from similar studies. According to Trainor and Fujioka (2006), young children exposed to music show different brain development and improved memory compared to children not exposed to music. The musically-trained children in the experiment performed better in a memory test correlated with general intelligence skills. Skills tested include verbal memory, literacy, mathematics, vision-spatial processing and IQ. Development changes were seen to occur within relatively short periods, as early as four months. As they participate in music activities, children also improve their physical, socio-emotional, cognitive and language development (Tainor & Fujioka, 2006). Even without the intervention of adults, children naturally learn from music through instinct. However, when they are exposed to music through singing and playing instruments, they become better at it and develop other useful skills as well.
In another study, Gooding (2011) found that children exposed to a systematic and integrated music program scored highly in motor, language, cognitive and social-emotional measurements as assessed by the Preschool Evaluation Scale. Singing appropriate songs helps children learn math, science and language concepts. Music also helps with memory – when items are memorized in a musical way, children are able to remember them more easily. When children read music or hear and move to a beat, they develop one-to-one correspondence skills. Recalling a series of sounds or actions helps them to gain serialization skills (Gooding, 2011).
Groves (2006) showed that there is strong correlation between music and the development of spatial-temporal intelligence. The relationship is even stronger in cases where children learned music notation. The researchers assigned preschool children to music lesions, computer lessons and no lessons. Those children that took music lessons showed a significant increase in spatial-temporal intelligence while there was no change in the children in the other groups.
The role of music in children’s development has long-lasting effects that persist until adulthood. Modern leadership requires a certain set of skills and abilities that help one relate effectively with others (Groves, 2006). A good leader should be able to establish and maintain social networks, deal with subordinates, and empathize with other leaders. For this reason, one must have strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to indentify, understand and manage emotions in a way that facilitates useful thinking. Social intelligence is based on ability to communicate and interact with others effectively. (Albrecht, 2006) found that emotional expressiveness is considered a good leadership quality. Music plays a huge role in the development of emotional expressiveness from an early age.
An important part of leadership has to do with motivation, for oneself and others. A good leader motivates his/her subjects through a shared vision and purpose-driven goals. One important requirement for motivation is good communication. It is a means of providing information as well as making others feel recognized and important. Communication should be done in a clear and transparent manner and should target all relevant players. The leader should be a source of motivation to his/her subjects. This requires one to lead by example, to show commitment to the course and provide encouragement during tough times. A good leader will seek to build useful relationships with his subjects, and this requires taking time to know and understand them.
Empowerment is important if a leader wants to get the best out of his subjects. When subjects are empowered, they feel motivated to take initiative and get creative. This promotes innovation in an organization and employees feel valued. Empowerment involves various aspects like giving employees a certain level of powers, including them in decision-making, and providing the necessary tools and environment to enable them work effectively. The ability to empower people stems from a high level of emotional intelligence, which will enable the leader to effectively understand the needs of his subjects and respond to them appropriately (Albrecht, 2006). This emotional intelligence is enhanced if one is exposed to music from an early age.
Finally, self-esteem is very important, not just in leadership but life in general. Self-esteem has to be built into the individual right from an early age. Childhood is a very sensitive period and it is during this time that self-esteem is built or broken. Teaching children early enough on being confident and believing in themselves in crucial. Music has been shown to contribute effectively to the development of self-esteem in children. The children are able to gain confidence, learn faster and believe in their abilities to tackle various challenges. This self-esteem carries through to adulthood and will impact on their leadership abilities. To be a good leader, one needs high self-esteem so that they develop that self-belief before they can inspire others to believe in them (Albrecht, 2006). Music from an early age is an effective tool for developing self-esteem.
Albrecht, K. (2006), Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
Gooding, L. (2011). The effect of a music therapy social skills training program on improving social competence in children and adolescents with social skills deficits. Journal of Music Therapy, 48(4), 440-62.
Groves, K.S. (2006), “Leader emotional expressivity, visionary leadership, and organizational change”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 27, pp. 566-83.
Tainor, L. & Fujioka, T. (2006). First Evidence That Musical Training Affects Brain Development In Young Children.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060920093024.htm>.