Music Together Concerned with Survey Results Indicating 72% of Parents with a Child under Age 18 Believe You Are Born either with or without the Ability to Carry a Tune
Leading early childhood music education expert aims to educate parents that everyone is born with the potential to learn to sing in tune
Princeton, NJ, September 4, 2014 — Results of a new survey commissioned by Music Together LLC and conducted online by Harris Poll, reveal that 72% of parents with children under 18 years old believe that you are born either with or without the ability to carry a tune. The survey conducted in July among over 450 parents with a child under age 18, also indicates that only a shockingly low 17% of parents sing to their children daily—yet nearly all (98%) believe that children need music education.
“It is not true that you are either born musical or not,” says Kenneth K. Guilmartin, leading international early childhood music expert and Founder/Director of Music Together. “Just as we are all born with the potential to speak our native language, we are all born with enough music ability to learn to sing in tune and move in time, as long as parents and other primary caregivers provide an adequate music environment during early childhood. Of course, not everyone will emerge as a musical virtuoso, but we also don’t expect every child learning to talk to become a famous actor. But, all children can certainly learn to carry a tune and comfortably participate in music activities throughout their lives.”
Guilmartin continues, “While it is heartening to see that music education is valued by so many parents, the survey shows a misunderstanding of the role of parents and caregivers in their children’s music development. We teach children language by continuously talking and reading to them. Imagine if you only talked to your child once a month! Similarly, the best thing parents can do to support musical growth is to sing and dance with their children, as often as possible.”
According to the survey, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) parents report singing to their children, yet the majority (55%) do it only once a month and 41% do it only once a week. Only 17% of parents sing to their children daily.
“Listening to music is fine, but it’s a good idea to actively make music with your child every day. The good news is that you are likely doing it more often than you might think. Bouncing your child on your knee along with the TV or radio, making up silly songs, singing a lullaby—these are all ways to create the supportive and rich music environment children need to develop their inborn music potential. And keep in mind it is not about how good a singer you are! What’s important is that you model the enjoyment of making music yourself. Some adults feel self-conscious about their own singing and dancing and some may think they need to be a great singer or musician in order to be a good musical role model. But, research suggests that even parents who cannot sing in tune can still provide their child with a positive disposition for music-making. In addition, singing and dancing together can be an important way to bond with your child. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for everyone!”
Other highlights of the Music Together survey include:
- The likelihood of parents to agree that learning music is important to a child’s general development increases with the age of the parent: 18-34 (79%), 35-44 (89%), and 45-54 (92%).
- Nearly all (98%) of U.S. parents with a child under 18 think children need a music education. The average age these parents think music education should begin is at 3.3 years old. Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) think this education should begin before the age of 1; 52% believe this education for children should begin between ages 1 and 5; and 18% believe this should happen at age 6 or older.
- Dads are more likely than moms to say that music education should start at a later age (average age to begin music education: 4.0 vs. 2.7, respectively). Dads are more than twice as likely as Moms to say this should start at the age of 6 or older (26% vs. 12%, respectively).
Music Together is an internationally recognized, developmentally appropriate early childhood music and movement program for children birth through age seven. First offered to the public in 1987, the Music Together curriculum, coauthored by Guilmartin and Dr. Lili Levinowitz (Director of Research), is based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, move with accurate rhythm, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning. Music Together offers programs for families, schools, at-risk populations, and children with special needs, in over 2500 communities in 41 countries around the world. The company is passionately committed to bringing children and their caregivers closer through shared music-making and helping people discover the joy—and educational value—of early music experiences.
Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Music Together from July 29–31, 2014, among 2065 adults ages 18 and older, 483 of whom have children under the age of 18. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, click here.
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