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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 6, No. 5

The RCM's Advanced Certi cate in Early Childhood Music Education

by Jacquelyne Berry / February 1, 2001

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y´upported by a plethora of recent studies, educators, parents and musicians are recognizing the fact that music and young children are natural and productive partners. Arts education advocates are convinced that music education helps children in early childhood learn but, to date, there has been little training available for early childhood music educators. In recognition of this urgent need for music education for teachers of young children, a joint program in early childhood music education is now being offered by The Royal Conservatory of Music, Community School and Ryerson University, the Advanced Certi cate in Early Childhood Music Education (ECME).

First initiated in 1991, the original ECME program demonstrated great foresight by forging into unfamiliar territory and was the rst of its kind in North America. In July 2000, The RCM and Ryerson successfully introduced a revised and strengthened program which has met with a positive response from early childhood educators everywhere.

y´cientists and educators are realizing that early, positive musical experience is uniquely effective in helping children achieve their full potential intellectually, artistically and emotionally. Sensory experience wires a child's brain into usable neuy´al networks. Research indicates that babies learn through hearing; exposure to music and parents' singing helps children learn to learn. The same discrimination between sounds that is learned through listening to music is required to succeed in spelling lessons. Hands-on use of instruments enhances coordination, concentration and memory as well as eyesight and hearing acuity. The arithmetical quality of music actually helps wire the brain for mathematics.

Due to the relationship between music and abstract reasoning, listening to music can improve a child's ability to perform the complex tasks of spatial reasoning. Music is shown to contribute to a child's development by improving intellectual and motor skills as well as social abilities. Participation in music games and music education improves listening skills and teaches fundamental concepts.

Mary Stouffer, ECME Program Coordinator for The RCM, ardently believes that "early childhood teachers have a unique and signi cant opportunity to provide quality music programs to the children in their care…It is the right of every child to have the opportunity to develop musical skills. It needs to be part of the daily curriculum in early childhood as well as in the elementary school… ECE teachers can provide valuable daily music experiences with the children to bring a different kind of joy to their lives."

The Advanced Certi cate in Early Childhood Music Education offers those already involved in early childhood education the opportunity to enhance their skills, and those who are entering the eld a career advantage from the start.

The Advanced Certi cate in ECME comprises eight one-semester courses, or their equivalent in two streams – music education and early childhood education theory and practice. Applications for 2001/2002 are being accepted at The RCM by January 26, 2001 or April 20, 2001. For more information, call 416-408-2824 ext 251 or e-mail earlychildhood@rcmusic.ca.


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