Music should not be a luxury at school but an important part of a child’s education, especially at a young age – that’s the view of a senior teacher at one of Shropshire’s leading independent schools.
Jeremy Lund, director of music at Prestfelde School, says music can help develop a range of vital skills which transfer to other subjects and the wider world.
He said: “Music can sometimes be considered as a luxury to school pupils – not an essential part of their education, and perhaps not as important as the traditional academic subjects.
“I would argue that music is a vital part of the educational mix that makes a well-rounded young person.
“The wider benefits of learning and performing music are not always fully appreciated, and by exposing children to these different elements of education at an early stage there are significant advantages that remain with them throughout their lives.
“Firstly, when pupils are performing as part of a group, it really gives them the chance to develop socially without even realising it.
“They work as a team and have to be aware of each other and be cooperative with each other, as well as being aware of what the person next to them is doing and adapting to that if needed.
“They have to trust that each member of the group will do their job – that each of them will work hard enough to learn their parts so the piece of music sounds right as a whole.
“And of course, they each have to accept the responsibility that being part of a group brings – they quickly realise that if they play a wrong note or lose timing, it affects the whole piece of music and reflects on everyone.”
Mr Lund said performing music in front of people was great experience for children which they could use in other situations, such as taking exams.
“Learning how to handle the pressure is fantastic experience which is hugely beneficial to children as they grow up and start taking exams and attending interviews,” he said.
“When it comes to exams, children who study creative arts will usually take formal qualifications much earlier in their school journey, which again is really important experience that sets them in good stead for later in their education.
“Results have shown that children who have exposure to music do actually achieve higher in other subjects.
“Educationally, there is a high correlation between the level of musical activity and academic achievement, which is why we passionately believe in giving pupils the opportunity to play music at an early age.
“Musical performance is also another way that children can develop their leadership skills – especially if they may not excel in other areas, such as sport.
“But ultimately, the most important thing about encouraging children to embrace music is not related to exams or academic achievement.
“It’s simply that having a love of music as a leisure activity is a real gift – and one that will stay with them throughout their whole life, from childhood through adulthood and into their golden years.”
Prestfelde is a co-educational preparatory school in Shrewsbury for boys and girls aged three to 13. For more information visit the website at www.prestfelde.co.uk or call 01743 245400.