Habermeyer (Good Music, Brighter Children, 1999) updates her debut exploration of the importance of music in children’s lives with enlightening new information.
After educator Habermeyer struggled to find a book on the benefits of music for children that included practical guidance for parents, she decided to write one herself. The result was a meticulously researched and crafted work—a blend of investigation, manual, textbook and inspiration—with careful scrutiny of the merits and implementation of music instruction. The updated edition brings in 21st-century scientific studies, laws and technological innovations, along with anecdotes about successful child musicians—all of which support the idea that music should be as fundamental to education as the three R’s. With a scientist’s eye and an artist’s voice, Habermeyer examines everything from the benefits of music for the developing brain to music’s ability to improve cultural awareness. “Music, like truth, is often felt before it is understood,” the book notes. Similarly, Habermeyer’s lucid writing tends to strike a chord before the reader has processed the wealth of data that supports it. Her book is never preachy or hyperbolic—it is instead well-reasoned and peppered with moments of science-backed epiphany—yet its effect is as moving as it is cerebral. It is also motivational enough to encourage many parents to sign their children up for lessons. And it provides tips and resources that can help, including lists of recommended books, DVDs and Internet sources, as well as clear explanations of which instruments might best suit children of different ages and personalities. It gives particular attention to the value of music in the lives of special needs children, a topic often slighted in books for a general audience. And it delves into important ancillary subjects, such as ways to support local arts or start an orchestra. This is an encyclopedic, invaluable resource for anyone who believes in music education. Habermeyer may be preaching partly to the choir, but that choir is ready to sing and start playing instruments. Even parents whose children are already taking lessons may find valuable recommendations.
A magnum opus, fact-filled and inspiring, on the benefits of music.