EXPAND YOUR CHILD’S MIND WITH MUSIC EDUCATION

Written by – Ria Van Niekerk – Senior Deputy Principal of the Preparatory

Music Education has always been of primary importance at Trinityhouse. Children are introduced to playing recorders, guitars, marimbas and djembe drums from Grade One. The school boasts two choirs where good pitch and tone are essential components of the singing. We believe music training is good for the brain.

Nina Kraus, a prominent brain researcher at Northwestern University (Chicago), says that “learning music leads to changes throughout the auditory system that train musicians for listening challenges beyond music processing.”  She says “music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness.”

Musicians are commonly studied for neural plasticity, which refers to the ability of learning experiences to change the brain chemically and physically. Musicians have more brain grey matter volume in areas that are important for playing an instrument and in the auditory cortex, which processes all kinds of sound. But benefits transfer to speech, language, emotion, and general auditory processing.

In general, auditory learning requires the development of sound-to-meaning relationships.  This, in turn, requires attending to properties of sound such as pitch, timing and timbre and also thinking skills related to integrating sensory input and operating on it in working memory. Musicians thus have an advantage when it comes to learning the sounds of a new language.

Music training enforces a high working memory load. Increasing working memory capacity also improves the ability to think, as visible in IQ scores. Since musicians usually have greater working memory capacity, it doesn’t mean they are smarter than anybody else; but it probably does mean they are smarter than they would be if they were not musicians.

Music training also helps improve certain memory capabilities outside of music. Consider the different learning styles: auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learning. Most people are visual learners, but to be the best possible learners they need to develop all three styles. Music training should help their auditory learning style, especially under conditions where the sounds to be learned are embedded in conflicting sound stimuli, such as noisy rooms or learning a new language.

Now simply listening to a lot of music does not help the brain in the same way, for listening does not make rigorous task demands on the brain.  One study of children showed that fifteen months of intense music training-induced structural changes in the primary auditory and primary motor areas. These structural changes were associated with improved auditory and motor skills, respectively. Other studies show children who are musically trained, compared with non-trained children, have a better vocabulary in their native language and a greater reading ability. Presumably, they would be better at learning other languages.

Formal studies suggest that greatest benefit occurs if training begins before age 7. The benefits also correlate with the amount of music practice. However, much remains to be learned about effects of age and duration and nature of the music training.

Nina argues for more and better music education in the early grades of schools. She believes music training may benefit academic achievement by improving learning skills and listening ability, especially in challenging listening environments.

Earlier research shows IQ in children improves when they are taught to have larger working memory capacity. Since working memory is apparently increased by music training, and music training also apparently enhances auditory learning, it seems like a no-brainer to suggest that music training is essential in Preparatory Schools. Trinityhouse supports this theory!

Trinityhouse’s Chanell Twirls to Top Ballerina in West Rand

Grade 6 student Chanell Botha recently took part in the Roodepoort Arts Festival and she received first places for both her solos. She also received a special award and the most promising novice/pre-amateur Ballet Bursary. Chanel has been doing ballet since she was 4 years old and dances almost everywhere she goes. Chanell is looking forward to her first pair of pointe shoes that she will start to dance in next year which is a big step in any ballerinas career. We are so proud of you Chanell and all your achievements!

Spring has arrived at the Pre-Primary School!

     The weather is warming up, the flowers are blooming and spring hats are the spring accessory of choice at the Pre-Primary School. To celebrate the spring season, each child made their own hat in class which were on full display during our Spring Hat Parade. The kids shrieked with joy and they pranced around the school in their own magical creations. While colours popped, many chose sparkles, feathers and even paint to make their own design unique. To end the day, each child was treated to a yummy ice cream treat. Hooray for Spring!

 

Trinityhouse’s Little Chefs Make-a-burger!

Trinityhouse Little Falls always goes out of its way to make learning fun! Many times it’s those extraordinary creative lessons that children never forget. This last week as a part of the Grade 000 and 00 class theme of “Bread”, the whole school put on their chef’s hats and were treated to a fun Make-a-burger day. Each child was given their own yummy burger and got to put their favourite toppings and sauces on all by themselves. While making the burgers was indeed fun, the best part was definitely eating their little creations. Moms, watch out for our little budding chefs next time you make burgers at home as they can make a masterpiece of a home favourite!

Pre-Primary Concert: A Musical Journey through the Decades!

         The Pre-School recently put on their annual play production called, “A Musical Journey through the Decades.” Our talented pupils sang and danced their way into the audience’s hearts with their routines and amazing costumes. The audience sang along as our stars shined musically. From the 1950’s to today’s pop culture, music was on everyone’s lips as we watched an amazing production unfold before our eyes. Thank you for all the hard work our Pre-Primary pupils and staff worked to make the show a success.

Academics to the Next Level- Top Achiever’s Awards

Trinityhouse Little Falls Preparatory School held an awards ceremony for their top academic achievers in the Senior Intersen Phase (Grades 4-7). Students who received over 80% were awarded and well as our top 10 Achievers who achieved over 90% in academics this term. Well done to our pupils for all their  hard work. A special thanks to our parents and teachers who go the extra mile to bring our pupils to the next level.

Midnight Feast- a yummy start to the term

To start off the term and end off this week’s theme of day and night, each class had their own “Midnight Feast”. Each child was allowed to come to school in their favourite pyjamas and bring a picnic “feast” and favourite blanket. The blankets were spread out and the kids enjoyed their own little feast in their classroom with their picnic munchies. The kids were so excited for this day and enjoyed themselves. What a great way to begin this exciting third term!

DOGZCOOL: The Incredible Dog Show Teaches Pre-School New Tricks

Trinityhouse Little Falls Pre-Primary was treated to an exciting fur-filled morning with DOGZCOOL‘s Incredible Dog Show. DOGZCOOL is a company owned and run by Lloyd Bristow who is a specialist and trains different kinds of dogs to do incredible tricks. The Incredible Dog Show is Educational, Motivation and Inspirational and a whole lot of fun! The Pre- Primary School sat in awe as Cool Dog, Kindle, Hero, Shine, Jet and Daz performed some amazing fleets. Not only was it exciting to watch but some of our pupils got to play games with the dogs and even helped one dog spell a word! Most importantly we learned about dogs, how important it is to take care and nuture your dogs (and pets), where we should take them when they’re sick and what is the right amount of time and food we should give our dogs to keep them healthy. The pupils also learned about how to approach a dog when you want to pet it and how it is important to ask the dog’s owner if you are allowed to pet their dog to keep themselves from getting hurt. What a furry fun time we had today all while learning some incredible things about our furry buddies. Thank you DOGZCOOL for coming to Trinityhouse and to all the dogs for performing an amazing show!

Sho’t Left to Mzansi- A Prep School Play Production

The Preparatory School Foundation Phase took us on a colourful journey through the different provinces of South Africa. The vibrant production was a cultural clash of song, dance and the unique spirit that makes us Proudly South African! What a fantastic display of cultural diversity by some amazing pupils in our school. A very special thanks to our music department and all the parents and staff that worked so hard to produce a South African masterpiece!