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Friday, December 05, 2014

Setting the tone: Experts say musical ability can be nurtured in young children

"One of the best gifts parents can give their children is music." reports Richard Duckett Entertainment Reporter.

Pakachoag Music School teacher Linnea Lyerly sets the tone for young learners.
Photo: Worcester Telegram

They can start the giving right now just by singing to their babies and infants, or letting them listen to musical recordings, according to music educators. The music-rich holiday season is an ideal time to begin, and the rewards can be a lifetime of musical participation and enjoyment.

"There's the nurture and the nature," said Sarah Smongeski, executive director of the Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester. "I definitely think the nurture piece is significant in people having musical ability. After a certain age the brain moves into another kind of development."

However, the results of a nationwide survey commissioned by Music Together LLC and done online by Harris Poll earlier this year reveal that 72 percent of parents with children under 18 believe that you are born either with or without the ability to carry a tune. The survey also indicates that only 17 percent of parents sing to their children daily. On the other hand, nearly all (98 percent) believe that children need music education.

Kenneth K. Guilmartin, founder and director of Music Together, said in a statement after the survey was published, "It is not true that you are either born musical or not. Just as we are all born with the potential to speak our native language, we are all born with enough music ability to learn to sing in tune and move in time, as long as parents and other primary caregivers provide an adequate music environment during early childhood."

Mrs. Smongeski said, "It's similar to speaking. If all parents were singing as much as they are speaking to their children from birth it really could have a dramatic development."

Music Together, based in Princeton, N.J., is a music education program for children up to 7 years old that is affiliated with community music schools nationwide, including Pakachoag Music School.


Additional resources  

Pakachoag Music School Worcester Welcome Video 

Source: Worcester Telegram and Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester Channel (YouTube)