Music humanizes us and the need to make sounds beyond the confines of our throats is a basic, human, urge. Thanks to a recent scholarly archaeological dig, we now have evidence of man-made bone flutes from the Stone Age.
From the New York Times:
The most significant of the new artifacts, the archaeologists said, was a flute made from a hollow bone from a griffon vulture; griffon skeletons are often found in these caves. The preserved portion is about 8.5 inches long and includes the end of the instrument into which the musician blew. The maker carved two deep, V-shaped notches there, and four fine lines near the finger holes. The other end appears to have been broken off; judging by the typical length of these bird bones, two or three inches are missing.
Now that we have proof of our prehistoric musicality, we should make a more concerted effort to give every single child access to an ongoing and sustained musical education in the public schools.
Too often today, children are tested for musical competency and if they do not show some sort of talent at an early age, they are wiped away from participating in school-sponsored musicianship.
Music is about precision and conformity of purpose — but for those
students who cannot yet make a joyful sound, or for those who are outside the
mainstream mindset because of economics or social mores — we need to
find a good way for their total inclusion in the human, ongoing, need to make musical melodies.
I wonder how many children are like the ones who never speak until they are ready for full sentences — but with music — eg ready to play more full pieces of music right away after not playing a note.
I love the imagery in this article 🙂
That’s a good question, Gordon. We should give young children as many avenues for opportunities as possible. You’re right that some kids might have a first language that is more melodic then grammatical — and we should be on the lookout for them and help them to translate those notes into an alphabet and words.