Rhythm and Literacy
What do Whole-Language teachers and Music teachers have to learn from one
(adapted from a Research Forum article published, 1994, Lanley, BC School District)
When considering "literacy," we often assume that we are considering knowledge of communication through the written word. However, the reading and writing of music are also communication skills that fall within the notion of "literacy." Music is a kind of language (some even term it the "Universal Language") with its own logic and syntax. A pedagogy has evolved to teach the skills of reading and writing music with its own methodology and developmental scope and sequence.
While music reading and writing skills are quite different from language reading and writing skills, the early development of musical literacy can also be a powerful tool in developing language literacy. Studies have shown that the study of music increases academic achievement on a number of different fronts, including language and writing skills. This seems to support the idea that the development of music and language literacy in our students may mutually reinforce each other. Perhaps the differences between the skills of reading and writing music and language are not as great as they appear at first glance. ~ Kit Eakle
Native languages influence the way people group non-language sounds into rhythms. Exposure to certain patterns of speech can influence one's perceptions of musical rhythms.