The Affective, Cognitive, and Linguistic benefits of Music

 

Affective

Music is important for all language learners:

- Children enjoy singing songs that they learn at school.

- Music is playful and fun!

- Music provides a safe environment

- The tones in music positively affect our moods.  High pitches are associated with positive emotions, slower tones enhance both cortical and limbic awareness (which warms up the brain), and faster tones cool the brain and improves mood.  Teachers can create a positive and relaxing environment by simply playing the appropriate type of music in the classroom.

Music is especially important for ESL/immigrant students:

-Immigrant children who have the double burden of dealing with the loss of their home country while learning a new language will greatly benefit from learning language through music, which creates a relaxed state of mind.

Cognitive

Music is important for all language learners:

- Children can learn English grammar and patterns subconsciously (natural). 

-It is easier to memorize information such as the alphabet, spelling rules and other factual information when it is set to music.

- Listening to music increases brain function and can promote complex thinking.

Music is especially important for ESL/immigrant students:

- Krashen labels the involuntary foreign language rehearsal of words, sounds, and phrases as “Din in the Head.”  Krashen believes that the Din is provoked by comprehensible input.  The rehearsal of language makes it easier to speak in the second language.

- It appears that Din helps ESL students understand the chunking and rhythm of a new language.

-Murphey conceptualized the song-stuck-in-my-head (SSIMH) phenomenon and “equated the experience of [SSIMH as] having a song or part of a song running through one’s mind to that of hearing inner speech, also known as Din” (Schunk).

-Din takes several hours to occur after exposure; SSIMH can occur after a few minutes of song exposure.

Linguistic

Music is important for all language learners:

-Pre-school children and kindergarten students experiment with grammatical rules and rhyming patterns through music.

-Songs prepare children to listen to rhythmic language.  The strong patterns of syllables in nursery rhymes, poems, and songs helps children hear the natural rhythm of music.  This will later improve their speaking ability.

- The language in music is simple, repetitive, and conversation-like.

Music is especially important for ESL/immigrant students:

- ESL students begin to speak with memorized phrases and sentences.  Music allows for greater fluency when speaking since the patterns found in English can be memorized with ease.

-Music provides both bottom-up and top-down processing skills, which are essential for developing good listening skills.

-Bottom-up: allows ESL student to hear the sounds in music, building up to words, then sentences, and lastly, the student makes meaning of these sentences.

-Top-down: allows the listener to use background knowledge to understand the message in the music.