More than half of U.S. children and adults have never received music education, though a majority (68%) thinks it’s important, says a new IBOPE Zogby poll commissioned by Primrose Schools. Over 70% of adults recognize that music education enhances children’s music appreciation, cognitive development and creativity. However, over the past 15 years, many school music programs have been cut to reduce budgets and to spend more time on math and reading instruction.

“The results show a disconnect between what people know and believe about music and what they’re actually doing about it,” says Dr. Mary Zurn, vice president of education at Primrose Schools. “Although many parents and teachers are aware of the benefits and value of a solid music education, and research tells us it’s more important than ever to start at a young age, music is rarely part of the daily schedule in most elementary schools.”

EXPOSURE TO MUSIC ENHANCES LEARNING

Early, consistent exposure to music has been found to support musical ability, language development, motor coordination, social skills and learning. Poll results further support the link between music and academic achievement: 65% of adults with college degrees participated in music education, compared to 37% of adults without college degrees.

Poll results reveal that music is already an important part of family life: 86% of families enjoy listening to music, and 80% of children are most frequently exposed to music at home. However, only a quarter of parents report using music to enhance learning.

“Children who grow up in an enriched music environment are better able to understand and enjoy music for the rest of their lives.” says Rob Sayer, founder and director of The Music Class. “Children’s brains are hard-wired for music – even babies can process rhythm!  Adapting songs to go with everyday routines, creating musical conversations, and exploring a wide range of fun physical movements to songs brings music to life in ways that are fun for children and parents. Interacting with music on a daily basis also stimulates a child’s brain in non-musical ways. In the long run, musical stimulation can result in more connections between the right and left sides of the brains. There’s growing evidence that musical training increases brain plasticity which can be described as flexibility in brain function that enhances many aspects of brain activity.”

[Source:  IBOPE Zogby poll.  Primrose Schools.  3 Oct. 2011.  Web.  13 Oct. 2011.]