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Classical Music May Boost Children's Listening Skills

Update Date: Jan 08, 2014 05:40 PM EST

Listening to classical musical may help boost children's listening skills in later life.

New research reveals that listening to classical pieces composed by Bach and Mozart improves concentration and self-discipline in children. Researchers also found that children who listen to classical musical are more likely to appreciate a wider range of music in later years.

Researchers came to this conclusion after evaluating a British program developed by Apollo Music Projects. The point of the program is to introduce children aged seven to ten to classical music and its composers. The program involves a school assembly followed by six lessons at class level, with children listening to different instruments, musical concepts and a formal concert. Afterwards, the musicians explain what children should listen for and open question and answer sessions.

The program has been launched in schools across London, and 26 members of staff and 252 children in nine primary schools were interviewed about the program.

The findings revealed that teachers believed that developing children's ability to listen as the main benefit of the program.

"The children really enjoy the sessions. I think that listening to music in such an intimate environment (ie the classroom) engages them and allows them to develop their listening skills.' Another said that pupils' communication skills improved," said one teacher, according to the Daily Mail.

In a study on the program, Susan Hallam, professor of education and music psychology at the University of London, said that children developed "enhanced listening skills and the development of other skills necessary for careful listening to take place including concentration and self-discipline".

"For some of the children the program was inspirational. The children's positive reactions suggest that they were 'open-eared' and had not developed prejudices against classical music," Hallam said.

'We know that preferences for music are affected by the extent to which individuals are exposed to them, the greater the exposure the greater the liking," she added. "Opportunities to listen extensively to classical music in the early years of primary school are therefore likely to lead to children appreciating a wider range of music than might otherwise be the case."

"The skills of careful listening and differentiating musical sounds transfer to other areas of the curriculum and improve their (pupils') ability to concentrate and attend to details," said Mary Igoe, a former head teacher from Columbia Primary School, Bethnal Green, East London, according to the Daily Mail.

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