Let your children groove with a career in music
Pupils King Edward VI High School for Girls take part in a music lesson on October 4, 2006 in Birmingham, England.
Dubai - Parents are considering music, dance and other performing arts as mainstream career options for their kids, say teachers.
In an age where every student has easy access to iTunes, iPods, and music players and composition softwares, the integration of music inside the classrooms have grown phenomenally. Research has also proven that actively playing musical instruments can help develop a child's academic achievements.
According to a TIME magazine article, science has shown that when children learn to play music, their brains begin to hear and process sounds that they couldn't otherwise hear. This helps them develop "neurophysiological distinction" between certain sounds that can aid in literacy, which can translate into improved academic results for kids.
However, a vast majority of children still look at music education, performance arts, and dance as 'side act'. But the mindset is gradually changing, say music teachers in the UAE.
"Musicians are amongst the most interesting set of people you'll meet ... They are more ... well-aware of other cultures," said Irshad Azeez, a Dubai-based hip hop MC and co-host of the Dukkan Show, a weekly hip hop podcast. A graduate of the Wollongong University in Dubai, Irshad said the purpose of education is to create employability.
However, despite how far technology and education has come, several people in the school and university education sector still believe that music education and a career in music is not feasible. According to several Dubai-born musicians, it is a lack of opportunity in the music market that makes talented artists shy away from taking it up as a career option. Parents are skeptical about allowing their kids to pursue music full-time and students don't know 'if there's any money in it'.
"It is a highly competitive market and preference goes to those who are exceptionally talented ... which is still a rarity in Dubai," said Kevin Oliver, group cultural coordinator, GEMS Education Dubai.
According to Oliver, a lot is dependent on parents and how passionate the child is about pursuing a career in music. "Many of the international schools and curriculums have examinations, and students opt for music, dance, and performance arts in the later stages of their lives ... However, I don't see a similar trend in Indian curriculum schools.
"Things are slowly changing though, with schools like Dubai Modern Academy where children are given an option for music education," said Oliver.
He said the trick is in motivating parents to encourage the child to take part because they need to see the benefits of music education. "It makes the child so much more confident ... The major problem is with mindsets," added Oliver.
However, there is a definitive change in mindsets and parents are becoming a little more open to putting kids in music and performing school, said Dr Bruce Robinson, principal, Jumeira Baccalaureate School.
He said: "If we're looking at Dubai, there are many international curriculum schools in Dubai, which use an integrated approach in teaching music ... In International Baccalaureate for example, music is a compulsory subject till Grade 2. After that it is regularly taught in the PYP and MYP years depending on the child's interest."
Robinson said music is indeed a very important part of the curriculum, just like languages, English, math and science. "We need to educate families about the holistic nature of education. It is not just Math, English and the sciences. Give them a lot of opportunities to follow their passions and provide them with many opportunities ... Children must be taught that music is an important part of life and is important, just like sports," he added.
Oliver said students must be motivated and shown how brilliant they are. "Depending on how passionate they are about taking it up as a profession ... parents must be open to investing into educating students in the music field."