Music can work miracles. It can soften a man’s heart like David’s harp, or liberate families like Julie Andrew’s voice did, and even safeguard from pain and misery like Cecilia’s organ. Listening to music has known therapeutic effects. It can create a feeling of togetherness as in a soccer stadium but also loneliness in case of the Bavarian king Ludwig II who had created a hide out to listen to his favorite music. A particular music piece can take you away while it stays in your head. It communicates with you (1). All these valuable effects and impacts are hardly ever recognized by the educational arena. Music and its deployment in the curriculum has been diminished over the years. Listening to, communicating through, practicing with.. – not much of it is left in our schools. Still, music can do educational wonders too.
To testify this an older study (first published in 1999) was found in the International Journal of Music Education. It narrates about a program in which parents were invited to their school to be involved in music experiences with their own child(ren): listening to pieces of music, communicating through instruments, practicing small compositions. The author found that parents began to relate to their child far beyond the musical and improved their parenthood.
We seem to have forgotten about the educational value of music in our school curriculum (2) but music is the ‘soundscape’ of youth, an environment from which identities are derived (manifest in clothing, communicating, and life orientations). Isn’t it then strange to note that music is so absent in schools? The wisdom contained in the cited study is that music can bridge between generational identities; thus connecting teachers with students, recognizing diversity, and experiencing common grounds. It will do well for schools to embrace music again and thus keep preferences of students oriented towards education.
Can music help to improve parent-child communication? Learning music with parents ; an Argentine experience by Dina Poch de Gratzer. International Journal of Music education (1999) 34. 47-56.