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Children’s fine motor skills have been affected by the pandemic – could music be …

5 October 2021, 13:34

School orchestra.

Image: Getty


After an 18-month absence from the classroom, teachers noticed a noticeable decrease in children’s fine motor skills. Music teachers suggest they can come up with a solution.

Think back to your own music lessons at school and you might remember the unparalleled joy of spending 30 minutes with a classroom keyboard – maybe even daring to hit the infamous ‘demo’ button at inappropriate times during the lesson.

However, the past 18 months have been very different for schoolchildren today.

With music lessons ranging from the practical dream of a grade 7 schedule to another lesson given on Zoom, it’s no wonder music teachers are so keen to get young people back to playing.

But there’s another reason why these hands-on music lessons are so important.

Read more: “We want every child to have the chance to play a musical instrument” – Sir Keir Starmer

Writing

With the majority of last year’s lessons being delivered digitally, some school children lack practice when it comes to skills like handwriting.

Good manual handling is fine motor skills necessary for handwriting. It is the practice of picking up, moving and manipulating an object in your hand; in this case, a pen.

Like everything, without practice, skills can eventually decline over time, and teachers have noticed that their September start-ups are significantly behind in this area.

In June 2021, the educational editor Schofield & Sims surveyed elementary school teachers to ask if the pandemic disruption had a negative effect on students’ good writing habits.

Muscle memory

83 percent of those polled agreed with the statement, but more than half said no remedial system had been put in place for students who were now struggling with fine motor skills.

The underdevelopment of fine motor skills in young people has also had an impact on muscle memory.

Musicians will recognize this term because it is a form of memory that is cemented in the brain by the repetition of a certain movement; a skill often used when memorizing music.

In addition to music, it is used to accurately plot the size and position of handwritten letters. The investigation also noted that this was a particular problem with young children in Key Stage 1 returning to class after the pandemic.

So how can music help?

Fine tuning of motor skills has long been associated with learning a musical instrument.

A 2006 article titled ‘Does Teaching Music Improve Fine Motor Skills?found significant improvement in fine motor skills in children who received two years of piano lessons.

The article’s conclusion explains: “When performers practice their instruments, they receive immediate and consistent auditory feedback on their motor response to such stimuli.

“The endless possibilities to assess, refine and time their motor responses to specific stimuli during music practice and the availability of constant feedback (i.e. sound) can enable musicians improve the accuracy and speed of perception and response to relevant stimuli. “

By adjusting motor skills, music lessons could serve as an essential remedial for handwriting and muscle memory in young people.

As students returned to class at the start of this term, music teachers reportedly turned to more practical lessons – focusing on learning instruments like the keyboard, ukulele or recorder.

Now more than ever, music in schools is an integral part of the curriculum, and with the addition in 2020 of Music Education Hubs, we hope to see this topic continue to be celebrated and set – as desired. footballer Wilfried Zaha – at the heart of children’s lives.

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