Due to the confirmation that music is an important aspect in early childhood education, integrating it in schools should be ensured, where they should spend more time in schools than at homes. At the early stages, kids experience development, where music helps the process become smooth. As a result, the development of basic music capabilities should be ensured, especially to kids aged 3 to 5 as that is the age when most of physical and emotional development happens. For this to be ensured, the preschool teachers have to be professional competent and also possess the professional identities that would develop the music potential in the kids. For example, the teaching practices that a teacher applies determine whether the music ability would be inhibited or encouraged. When the teacher joins the students in singing and teaches them new songs that would encourage them to developing the singing habit, which is necessary for development. Every preschool teacher must have musical competence, guide the kids. Research has shown that most of the teachers in the United States consider music competence to be an innate ability, where some have it while the others lack.
However, this is an assumption, which does not represent the truth. Music ability is a universal property of human race, where anyone would adopt the practice, despite time and place. Music is also inherent the same way people learn and apply knowledge. Therefore, one of the major areas to address in this topic is letting the preschool teachers know that music capability is not an innate element. In fact, the environment that one is, determines their musical ability. For example, where teachers collaborate in ensuring that singing is part of the early childhood learning, they would easily implement it than where some teachers do not find its importance in the profession.
Literature Review and Resources
One of the studies was conducted by Dr. Nadine Gaab of the Stanford University. The scholar aimed to determine the how teachers who are musical competent contribute to the academic progress of the children. The study’s design was based on observation as well as analysis of academic performance when the teachers are competent and they are not. Gaab found out that competent teachers improve the executive functioning in kids. It refers to the ability to organize thoughts, ideas as well as information. Notably, music is fun, meaning that the kids learn fast and remember. They also organize the words and rhythms rightly, when the teacher is competent in the training process.
The same skills of organization and remembrance are evident in the academic performance, as the brains are normally having been trained on organization. Gaab noted that the executive functioning of a child would predict their academic performance better than IQ. In the process of collecting data, the researcher noted that most of the preschool teachers are eliminating music programs and replacing it with tests preparation. In most cases, this has been resulted to by the little understanding on the role of music in the learning process. In the end, many kids are not becoming academically better, because the teachers are not professional competent for the practice. The other study was conducted by Paula Tallal who worked closely with Gaab.
The aim of the study was to determine the how musical ability in teachers, affect the literacy and language processing among leaners who have listening disabilities. In collecting data, the researcher observed a five year old learner, who had issues identifying the consonant sounds in words. The child had been enrolled in a music based program, where they sang every day. One of the research findings is that the child learnt to identify a trumpet, violin as well as piano in every piece of music. After some time, the boy started identifying consonants in words, without struggle. The researcher thus concluded that when a child is exposed to music, the ability to process language is improved, which helps the child increase their literacy levels.
Nevertheless, the study claimed that this has not been the case, as the teachers do not play their roles as needed. Since the learners involved here have disabilities, teachers should have not only competency, but also the willingness to help the learners. Most of the teachers do not how to ensure this, which has led to most of the learners with disabilities perform poorly, yet they would have improved if music programs were applied. So and so also carried out a reliable research, where they wished to know how musical involvement impacts memory in kids. In doing so, they conducted an analysis, where ten schools were involved, with five of them applying music programs while the rest did not. The research study took one year, because Blake Madden, in the ‘why music matters’ had said that the effects are noted after one year.
The study concluded that the involvement in music plays a key role in the kids’ remembrance of what they learn. For the kids to remember the songs, they used to organize, adjust and sequence the materials. Since they were in the learning stage, they grabbed this method in studies which led to a better way to remember school work. The researchers noted that the leaners that were exposed to music performed better than those who did not. On the other hand, the researchers claimed that the teacher must have certain competence level, for the memory benefit to be realized. For example, the teacher had to learn the songs first, and join the leaners in organizing, adjusting and sequencing the pieces, so that they remember. Where teachers did not have these capabilities, the kids would rarely remember. The teacher was also required to be fun; otherwise the learners were easily bored and preferred engaging in other activities like play. Dr. Julene Johnson, a professor at the University of California conducted a study, with the main aim being to determine how musically competent teachers assist learners ensure an emotional wellbeing. It was noted that music is a reliever, where it helps one deal with anxiety, depression and other psychological issues. Nevertheless, Johnson decided to carry out a study, after the realization that it is not all students exposed to music deal with psychological issues efficiently.
The study was based on self-reports, where parents narrated on how the kids were dealing with issues for example bullying. The study found out that teachers who assisted kids while singing and memorizing, made them enjoy, and as a result, the kids did not have problems while handling issues. Some parents wrote that whenever the kids faced a challenge, they would start singing naturally. Thus, Johnson concluded that where a competent and passionate teacher is involved, the benefit of leaners coping with emotions is noted, while those taught by incompetent teachers struggle with emotions, especially depression due to bullying. at the end of the research, the author insisted that competent teachers should be employed, so that they help leaners cope with psychological issues, which are rampant among them, because they would result in not only bad performance, but also would affect their future ability in dealing with life issues.
Another study was conducted by Blazenka Susic, who aimed to examine teachers’ competency in early and preschool education learners, at the department Teacher education in Zagreb University. The researcher mostly tested the teaching methodology and musical creativity that the students applied in their teaching practice. Data was collected based on the self-assessment reports and questionnaires that were designed for the study. There were 223 participants in the study, where some well full time members of the study. One of the major findings is that the training teachers knew the importance of music in learning, but they did not attain the desired level of competence. For example, some of them had the thought that music ability is an innate aspect, where one does not need to strain because the talent has not been given to all people.
Others believed that it was the role of the parents to engage the learners in music, as the schools’ main aim is to improve the academic ability of the kids. Based on the findings, the researcher claimed that a lot had to be done unto teachers, so that they learn their roles in ensuring that the music benefits reach the kids. They should also learn that music directly relates with the kids’ academic performance. The other study has been conducted by boo, whose aim was to find out the benefit of further education to preschool teachers. The methods used were observations and interviews, where the researchers asked the teachers about music being a method in teaching or a content of knowledge. The findings were that the teachers claimed to be comfortable dealing with music, both as method to teach and as a planned activity. However, when the teachers were asked about their work, 80% of them claimed that they had never sang or played. Instead, they guide the kids on how to carry out the activities. In short, the teachers did not consider music as a learning language.
The researcher concluded that even though teachers considered music to be useful as a learning method and also as a tool to impact knowledge, they had not developed a professional language for it. This means that there was no a particular way of carrying out the practice, meaning that the chances for doing it wrongly were high. The researcher therefore concluded that a professional language for music should be introduced, so that it acts as a guide to teachers, so that its benefits to early childhood education are maximized.