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Playing classical music to your child can improve their listening skills later on

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  • Playing classical music to your child can improve their listening skills later on

    Playing classical music to your child can improve their listening skills later on in life

    Playing classical music to young children boosts their concentration and self-discipline as well as their social skills

    PUBLISHED: 13:27 EST, 8 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:36 EST, 8 January 2014

    Playing classical music such as Beethoven and Mozart to young children boosts their concentration and self-discipline, a new study suggests.

    Youngsters also improve their general listening and social skills by being exposed to repertoires from composers including Ravel, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn.

    In addition, they are likely to appreciate a wider range of music in later years, according to a study from the Institute of Education, (IoE), University of London.

    Playing classical music to children boosts their concentration and self-discipline, according to the study.

    It improves their general listening and social skills.

    Children exposed to the works of Beethoven and Mozart, for example, are more likely to appreciate a wider range of music in later years.

    Some teachers involved in a scheme to expose seven to 10-year-olds to classical music reported seeing an improvement in their English.

    Another study found that musicians have sharper minds and are less likely to suffer a mental decline.

    Mastering instruments such as the piano, flute or violin improves people's ability to pick up mistakes and fix them quickly.

    Susan Hallam, professor of education and music psychology at the IoE, evaluated a programme developed by Apollo Music Projects which introduces children aged seven to ten to classical music and its composers.

    The scheme involves a whole school assembly followed by six lessons at class level, with children experiencing different instruments and musical concepts and a formal concert.

    Musicians explain what children should listen for and launch question and answer sessions. As the sessions progress, the listening tasks become more complex.

    The programme has been delivered to 4,500 children in 26 primary schools in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, East London, as well as to over 22,000 youngsters in assemblies and concerts.

    26 members of staff and 252 children in nine primary schools were questioned about the programme.

    Teachers rated developing the ability to listen as the main benefit, followed by musical knowledge and development and the boosting of concentration levels, aspirations, self-discipline and personal and social skills. Some staff also pointed to improvements to English.

    One teacher said: ‘The children really enjoy the sessions. I think that listening to music in such an intimate environment (ie the classroom) engages them and allows them to develop their listening skills.’ Another said that pupils’ communication skills improved.

    In a report on the scheme, Professor Hallam said children developed ‘enhanced listening skills and the development of other skills necessary for careful listening to take place including concentration and self-discipline’.

    She added: ‘For some of the children the programme was inspirational. The children’s positive reactions suggest that they were ‘open-eared’ and had not developed prejudices against classical music.

    ‘We know that preferences for music are affected by the extent to which individuals are exposed to them, the greater the exposure the greater the liking.

    ‘Opportunities to listen extensively to classical music in the early years of primary school are therefore likely to lead to children appreciating a wider range of music than might otherwise be the case.’
    This has been demonstrated over and over. I don't think only Western classical music has this effect; I think it's common to all 'classical' musical traditions. For whatever reason, musical complexity reaches a certain point in human cultures and then gets progressively dumbed down.

    I like listening to Katy Perry as much as the next person but there's nothing in her music that's stimulating or challenging and that's true of most contemporary music both pop and classical. What intricacy and complexity there is in music at the moment is on the fringes.

    Daily Mail
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."