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How does music and musicality impact upon the development of young children

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Sponsored Post: Children of all ages express themselves through music. You often hear pre-schoolers making up songs, clapping hands, or swaying to a ‘beat’ when they hear music on the radio or television. Often school curriculums view music as additional or extra curricular, rather than being an integral part of the solid foundation of children’s development and overall learning. Stanford studies have shown that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory.

Shrewsbury School (UK) has a long held record of success within musical performance and the performing arts. For many generations, students there have been encouraged to perform for peers, parents and visitors of the highest accord. With the successful delivery of a purpose built Music School, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1999, the school ensured that the tradition would be carried firmly forward.

Keen to deliver a similarly aspirational programme within the Shrewsbury premium primary setting in Hong Kong, they undertook a thorough evaluation of the way in which music and musicality impacted upon the development of young children. In doing so, they discovered a number of recently conducted studies that supported the long held notion that music enriches learning broadly.

Mary Luehrisen, Executive Director of the National Association of Music Merchants, summarises expertly. “When you look at children aged between two and nine, one of the significant breakthroughs is the benefit music brings to language development.”

Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, supports and extends this thinking. “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music – and language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”

Offering their summary within a recent study for the German Institute for Economic Research, Ardian Hille and Jurgen Schupp have clarified that cognitive and non-cognitive skills are improved by personal musical tuition. It is clear that considerately guided music experiences support learning both across the curriculum and beyond.

Recruiting the right leader was critical in ensuring the development of a programme integral to the experiences of all children. In Mr Euan Kilpatrick, Shrewsbury found an engaged, dynamic and knowledgeable practitioner with an aspirational vision.

“Music offers a unique opportunity for students to make connections, understand ideas and practise skills associated with a wide range of other curriculum areas.”  Mr Kilpatrick, Head of Music, Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong

The music programme at Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong has been carefully designed to nurture a life-long love of music. In addition to core lessons, students throughout the school engage in weekly choral sessions that further their understanding of musicality, rhythm and performance.

“Singing warms the soul. Within our sessions, students learn to control their breathing and physicality. Consciously engaging our diaphragm helps to increase the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, regulate our heartbeat and ease levels of stress and anxiety. Singing alongside others on a weekly basis has psychological benefits too – it increases our sense of community and belonging.” Mr Kilpatrick, Head of Music, Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong

And nowhere is this sense of community more important than among the schools youngest students. Within our most formative years, roots are laid. As we begin to develop an understanding of the world around us and wider wellbeing is founded. Music engages and affects – it connects us all.

Families looking to find out more about the music curriculum and wider school programme are very welcome to visit the purpose built campus in Tseung Kwan O. 

Regular tours run on Tuesdays at 10:00am – places can be booked directly through the Admissions Team. Email or on +852 2480 1500.


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