a self-help guide for parents
By Philip Sheppard
To hear someone say "I'm not musical", or "I'm tone deaf" or "I can't sing a note" isn't just sad, it's deeply frustrating, because you know that at some level it's not true. As Philip Sheppard writes here: "Children are born with an incredible array of musical abilities, including acute sensitivity to pitch, extraordinary rhythmic skills and the ability to discern subtle differences."
If these qualities aren't nurtured, or are even discouraged by adults, then the child isn't just missing out on an aesthetic dimension, but is being deprived of something that aids general intellectual development. Sheppard is convinced of this connection by the amount of research that supports it; much of this he presents in the first part of his book. He goes on to give practical advice to parents, starting with what to sing to the unborn child.
This book will be helpful for teachers not only because it provides ammunition to use on ambitious parents who think choir is a waste of time, but also to strengthen the case for music in the curriculum. The practical advice is as useful for the classroom as it is for parents. The accompanying CD has a good selection of songs, classical tunes and improvised instrumental pieces. You could use it in school in all sorts of ways, and then later in your car to make yourself simultaneously smarter and calmer.