Year: 2007

Music, mankind’s oldest art form, exists in all cultures whether for ceremonial purposes, communication or simply for entertainment’s sake. In societies like Ethiopia, however, musicianship was traditionally considered a contemptible career and musicians used to suffer social alienation. Consequently, in spite of the availability of a rich reservoir of musical talent in Ethiopia, the provision of music education and its proper integration into the curriculum has remained very weak.

Yet, recent studies have confirmed that music cultivates concentration, coordination, relaxation, patience and self-confidence. In fact, music is found to be a means of self-expression and self-realization. Research has proved that music enhances learning and creativity by increasing spatial-temporal reasoning, the centre of higher-level brain functions used in learning maths and science. The earlier children study music, the more rhythmic integration, movement and learning about proportions in time space perception, strengthens the young brain. The benefit of music in improving physical and psychological wellness is also established by various studies. Music therapy is a relatively recent development commonly used to help children suffering from a wide range of psychological and learning disorders. Music being multi-sensory, it can be used effectively as a tool for changing ideas, values, practices and policies. The African Child Policy Forum aims at capitalizing on the continent’s rich but little exposed experience in music and songs to the benefit of children by involving them in writing songs, performing as singers in a choir, and dancing and playing musical instruments. This will aid children in their mental development. It will also help in efforts to spot young musical talent for further hands-on guidance and nurturing. At the advocacy level, it will allow children to promote their rights in an eloquent and creative way.