Boost your child's IQ. How many times have you heard that since you were pregnant? There's always some sort of scientific claim, and there's always some sort of 'my way or the highway' threat to the claim, and there's always something that's going to cost you.
So it was with more than a healthy dose of scepticism that I agreed to review the book The Music Miracle: The Scientific Secret To Unlocking Your Child's Full Potential * (ISBN: 978-0-9926643-0-5) by Liisa Henriksson-Macaulay. This book is priced at £16.99 in paper back or for half that you can get it in eBook form for the Kindle when you buy it from Amazon*.
What is it all about then? Read on to find out.
The author, Liisa Henriksson-Macauley, is a musician, music educator, and a mother. When her son was a baby she started to research the best methods for teaching music to children, and began to come across studies showing how music learning helped develop the connection between both halves of the brain.
A connection in early childhood, between the ages of 0 to 7, between music training and boosted brain development. The research showed her that rhythm, melody, listning and music reading were provent o boot intelligence and increase IQ, improve literacy and maths skills, and enjoy better emotional and social well being.
Using around 1,200 scientific studies and the help of professionals within the field of education, child development and music education, she put this book together.
And it is a sizeable book - there are 42 chapters. I have to admit, I've had it for quite a while now and I haven't managed to finish reading it all.
Partly this is down to it being a bit late - my son is 8. The book is really of use for people with younger children. If you want the full benefit that is.
That said, it did help make me feel validated in a lot of ways. We've always had a lot of music in the house, with my other half being a musician. And I was going to see if son wanted to give up the flute he's been learning. Frankly, he's rubbish at it, but he really enjoys it. And who says you have to be good at something anyway? As long as he's happy and having fun learning music that counts.
The book is really there for those parents who want a fuller understanding of what the research says. If you want to take it as given that the research exists and is accurate, then I guess you could sum the book up in a sentence. Find a fun way for your child to learn music or an instrument, and start them on it as early as possible.
This isn't an exciting book to read. However, it isn't too densely written either. I was worried it would be heavy on the science/academic language. And there is a lot of it in there, but this is not a thesis. One area that I thought was missing was a bit more about the actual neurological changes that occur. The biology of the brain fascinates me and I would like to know more about how the wiring in the brain changes through music.
Pros: actually sound advice, with a practical application, and something even un-musical parents can do
Cons: the book is huge, and I don't think I'd have had the attention span when son was a baby to get through it. Also you need to read the book and start the training as early as possible. Not much help to parents of older children.
Overall verdict: 10/10 purely for basing this on actual, peer-reviewed science that's not taken out of context (and with a full list of sources and reference in the rear of the book).