Teachers stress early introduction to music

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 09:50 AM.

Jorge Benitez, director of the highly successful band program at Havelock High, sees the results when freshmen walk in his door.

"Children at the elementary and early middle school ages are so much successful with learning musical instruments," he said. "The brain is ready to grow and learn. The more stimulus the brain gets, the more connections it makes and the stronger it gets."

And, he said, the news gets better.

"There is a strong connection nationwide between strong music programs and high achieving schools," he said. "It’s not that smart kids do music but rather music makes kids smarter. There is just something about

music that can have transforming effects."

Melissa Orr directs the band at Tucker Creek Middle School.

"Children hit certain milestones in their development that make them much more receptive to learning new skills than adults," she said. "If you put a clarinet in the hand of a child that is still fine-tuning their motor skills and cognition, then you’ll find much greater success than you would in an adult that has never been exposed to music. A child can easily be convinced that something as complex as playing a musical instrument is simple and common place if introduced at the right time in their development and taught progressively. If not exposed early enough, a person may develop into an adult that has no interest in the arts and has little desire or initiative for that matter to take the steps needed to learn to play an instrument."

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