I was just watching this interview of Ananda Shankar Jayant on Youtube....courtesy D Murali of Pitstop performers... Why should Music & Dance (not the popular variety) become part of an education is being discussed. I thought I need to give my perspective on this.
Our education system is based on 'Memory' building, which is good. Unfortunately the brain is not a bucket but a tinder box that needs to be ignited. I remember a kind of study conducted on Indian school children that proved that the memory capacity of an Indian child is nearly 5 times more that of an American Child. How does it help? No it does not help at all, in fact a large memory size can only affect the processing speed (it happens with computers too). The Brain is not linear to be compared with the computer. However the Processing ability is as important as Memory or Attention so is the ability to Sequence.
Our children need all these four skills in order to be good in studies and in life.
I believe good classical music is the best way to acquire 'Processing and Sequencing' skills and during the recent 'Natyakala09 conference' I got to understand that Dance is a fantastic way too.
While music can help listening skills, Dance helps develop Body Kinesthetic Intelligence... very necessary for modern day children who are fed and nurtured on a 'kurkure' lifestyle. The classical or 'traditional' forms are very important since t learning them requires a time investment and helps the child move away the instant gratification mindset and traverse depths at ease, which in turn gets transferred to studies too.
Contrast it to the current day forms of music and dance, I would not like to deride it, I am a sort of guitarist myself, but I wish I had learnt playing guitar the proper way instead of strumming and singing some songs. It makes a lot of difference.I would want to agree with Maryanne Wolf "We are not only what we read. We are how we read." how we learn is very important.. the HOW?
I realize that the humongous amount of knowledge available today makes many 'skate or surf' but the pearls of success is for deep sea divers. Lest we mistake the shining froth for pearls.