The link below is to an article reporting on Google Home and Disney adding sound effects and music to ebooks.
Neuroscience has found a clear relationship between music and language acquisition. Put simply, learning music in the early years of schooling can help children learn to read.
Music, language and the brain
Music processing and language development share an overlapping network in the brain. From an evolutionary perspective, the human brain developed music processing well before language and then used that processing to create and learn language.
At birth, babies understand language as if it was music.
They respond to the rhythm and melody of language before they understand what the words mean.
Babies and young children mimic the language they hear using those elements of rhythm and melody, and this is the sing-song style of speech we know and love in toddlers.
Musically trained children are better readers
Reading is ultimately about making meaning from the words on the page. A number of skills combine to help us make those meanings, including the ability to distinguish between the sounds in words, and fluency of reading.
How do we learn to read?
Fluency includes the ability to adjust the the patterns of stress and intonation of a phrase, such as from angry to happy and the ability the choose the correct inflection, such as a question or an exclamation. These highly developed auditory processing skills are enhanced by musical training.
Musically trained children also have better reading comprehension skills.
Music can also give us clues about a child’s struggles with reading.
Research has found three- and four-year-old children who could keep a steady musical beat were more reading-ready at the age of five, than those who couldn’t keep a beat.
What parents and teachers can do
Language learning starts from day one of life with parents talking and singing to their babies. Babies bond with their parents and community primarily through their voice, so singing to your baby both forms a bond with them and engages their auditory processing network.
Taking toddlers to a well-structured, high quality music class each week will build the musical skills that have been found to be so effective in learning to read. It is vital to look for classes that include movement activities, singing, and responding to both sound and silence. They should use good quality music-making toys and instruments.
As they head into preschool, a crucial time for language development, look for the same well-structured music learning programs delivered daily by qualified educators. The songs, rhymes and rhythm activities our children do in preschool and daycare are actually preparing them for reading.
Music programs should build skills sequentially. They should encourage children to work to sing in tune, use instruments and move in improvised and structured ways to music.
Children should also be taught to read musical notation and symbols when learning music. This reinforces the symbol to sound connection which is also crucial in reading words.
Importantly, active music learning is the key. Having loud music on in the background does little for their language development and could actually impede their ability to distinguish speech from all the other noise.
This isn’t to say children need silence to learn. In fact, the opposite is true. They need a variety of sound environments and the ability to choose what their brains need in terms of auditory stimulation. Some students need noise to focus, some students need silence and each preference is affected by the type of learning they are being challenged to do.
Sound environments are more than just how loud the class is getting. It’s about the quality of the sounds. Squeaky brakes every three minutes, loud air-conditioning, background music that works for some and not others and irregular bangs and crashes all impact on a child’s ability to learn.
Teachers can allow students to get excited in their lessons and make noise appropriately, but keep some muffled headphones in your classroom for when students want to screen out sound.
Music for all
Our auditory processing network is the first and largest information gathering system in our brains. Music can enhance the biological building blocks for language. Music both prepares children for learning to read, and supports them as they continue their reading journey.
Unfortunately, it’s disadvantaged students who are least likely to have music learning in their schools. Yet research shows they could benefit the most from music learning.
As we look to ways to improve the reading outcomes of our young children, more music education in our preschools and primary schools may be one way clear way forward.
Forget the Mozart Effect and Baby Einstein, take it easy on acquisitions for your two-year-old’s private library, and don’t fret if your three-year-old hasn’t started violin lessons just yet.
The key to unlocking a child’s potential intelligence and happiness may indeed lie in music, but succumbing to the commercial juggernaut that is the baby-genius-making industry may not be in either your child or your wallet’s best interest.
Instead, try making up songs with your toddler. A new study suggests that regular informal music-making with very young children may even have benefits above and beyond those of reading.
But there’s an important, interesting, and somewhat beautiful catch – for best results, make it shared music-making in your home.
In an analysis of data generated from a study involving more than 3,000 children, a University of Queensland team investigated the associations between informal home music education for very young children and later cognitive and social-emotional outcomes.
The team found that informal music-making in the home from around the ages of two and three can lead to better literacy, numeracy, social skills, and attention and emotion regulation by the age of five.
By measuring the impact of music and reading both separately and in combined samples, the researchers were able to identify benefits from informal music activity over and above shared book reading, most strongly in relation to positive social behaviour, attention regulation and to a lesser but still significant extent, numeracy.
Part of an Australian Research Council funded study titled “Being and becoming musical: towards a cultural ecological model of early musical development”, the study aims to provide a comprehensive account of how Australian families use music in their parenting practices and make recommendations for policy and practice in childcare and early learning and development.
Last month, the team was awarded the inaugural Music Trust Award for Research into the Benefits of Music Education.
Music and its relationship to mental and social development has long captured the attention of parents, researchers, even philosophers.
Science has shown that music’s effect on the brain is particularly strong, with studies demonstrating an improvement in IQ among students who receive music lessons. Advantages in the classroom have been identified for students who study musical instruments, and the effects of ageing on cognition may even be mitigated through lifelong musical activity.
So how is this study different, apart from its focus on early childhood?
Crucially, its findings are based on situations where the child’s musical activities were informal and shared, typically with a parent – essentially a playful social experience.
Simple and fun musical activities can have enormous power in developing numeracy and literacy: try improvising a counting song, or making up new rhymes to familiar tunes.
But the true power of musical play lies in the unique blend of creativity, sound and face-to-face interaction; the learning is strengthened by its basis in a positive, empathic emotional relationship.
Parents are increasingly enrolling very young children in specialist music classes – undoubtedly a positive development. Reading, however, is rarely “outsourced” in this way, and this study suggests that parents should feel encouraged and empowered in tapping their own inner musician before looking outside the home.
As with most aspects of parenting (in my personal non-scientific experience), there is no substitute for a parent’s personal involvement, even if it involves long-forgotten modes of behaviour such as taking simple pleasure in making sounds.
Being playful with sound is something we’re all born with – indeed, toddlers are humanity’s greatest virtuosos in that regard – yet too many are silenced over the years by the “better seen than heard” brigade.
It’s no accident that we talk about “playing” a musical instrument; a turn of phrase that too easily becomes sadly ironic if formal music lesson structures calcify into strictures.
So recapturing a sense of play (if you’re an adult) is crucial to the process of shared music-making, and this research invites parents to focus on the element of “playing” music with toddlers, using any tools at hand.
The human voice is a great place to start, and the kitchen cabinet contains a wealth of percussion instruments. Whistles and bells could be the next step, followed by a toy piano for more ambitious stage parents.
Long before conventional music lessons start, jam sessions with your toddler (not of the messy sticky preserved fruit variety) can be an enormous developmental asset.
You might even find it a two-way street – if children can teach adults anything, it’s how to play. So take the time, play with your child, and “play” music together.
Along with the newly-confirmed bonus benefits for baby, you’ll both be connected to music: a fundamental component of a happy and healthy life.
I have been a user of Noisetrade for some time – for music. Now Noisetrade is looking at ebooks as well. A great idea. Noisetrade is a means of introducing people to now both music and ebooks via free samples and sometimes entire products, be it an album or ebook.
The link below is to an article that takes a look at music and ebooks, and in particular to ‘Booktrack,’ that provides a soundtrack service for ebooks.
On Wednesday morning Apple revealed the latest stats on iTunes video: users have downloaded 1 billion TV episodes and 380 million movies total, at the rate of 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day. Combined with the company’s recent revelation that it has 575 million active iTunes(s AAPL) accounts now, one interesting takeaway is that, while the number of iTunes accounts has grown substantially in the last five years, the amount users are spending on video hasn’t changed very much.
Horace Dediu made some calculations and plotted all of the data on a chart over at his Asymco blog:
Based on these latest numbers, Dediu calculated how much iTunes users spend per year on different types of media. He says it’s “about $9/yr on Software, $2/yr on books, $16/yr on apps $12/yr on music and $4/yr on video.”
On one hand, this chart backs up something we already…
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The link below is to an article that contains a playlist on Spotify for Librarians.
For more visit:
Just something I posted on another of my Blogs.
I don’t often buy music any more. On the odd occasion I may, if I believe the price is reasonable, grab a CD or these days something of the iTunes site. Generally though I stopped buy music a long time ago. Why? Well, in my opinion it was far too overpriced. A CD with just 8 songs on it or perhaps even less than 8, for the price they were charging – no way!
Now I have a subscription to Spotify and I can stream (and save playlists to my lap top) music for a very reasonable price. Not everything is on Spotify, but I will still buy something from iTunes should I wish to – such as a couple of The Voice Australia songs.
For me, buying music or not buying music was never about could I get a pirated version. I stopped buying music because it was too…
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I have been reading ‘Print is Dead – Books in our Digital Age,’ by Jeff Gomez and have now reached ‘Writers in a Digital Future.’ Here Gomez explores the possibilities for authors, possibilities that weren’t available in the past. Some attempts at interactive narrative have appeared prior to the digital world, but the opportunities for experimentation are now seemingly endless. As I have mentioned before, the possibilities now exist for the inclusion of various media, such as pictures, music, video, etc. Hyperlinks to other features can now be included in ebooks, allowing in-depth studies of characters for novel writers/readers, treatments of historical events at length and so on. There is just so much room for experimentation in the digital world for authors of all genres, even in ways perhaps not yet imagined.
There is however more opportunity for the digital author, for he/she is now able to interact with the reader via means other than the actual ebook being read. The opportunity exists for collaborative websites, forum and chat room interaction, live video interviews and so many other avenues to interact with fans and readers of his/her material. Of course social networks like Facebook and MySpace provide the means for setting up fan pages and the like also.
So the digital world offers many opportunites and the possibilities for a brave new world of literature are there waiting to be seized. Sooner, rather than later, the digital future will arrive in a big way and authors/publishers need to be ready to meet the online demand that will surely come.