“Research has found that learning music improves academic skills, and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas.”

That was a sentence I stole off Google, when I searched for ‘benefits of learning music’. And indeed, there are tons of benefits and reasons why our children should learn music, but some questions I had during my brief search were: Should our children be learning music just because research says it’ll make them better at Maths? Is music really just a vehicle for our children to be better at something else? Why do we justify learning music by emphasising its usefulness in ‘other areas’?

Of course, it doesn’t do any harm to consider these ‘benefits’, but perhaps we should take a step back and approach music education by thinking about – well, music. To me, there is nothing more profoundly human than listening to, and making, music. It is simultaneously a language that allows us to express ourselves in a way words sometimes cannot, and a language that allows people from all walks of life to appreciate and create, together.

Likewise, when we think about competitions, the first thing that comes to mind is that someone has to win, and someone has to lose. But music is far from a zero-sum-game, and it’s always magical to see how the better some players are, the better everyone eventually becomes. Sure, we can approach competitions as a kiasu parent or teacher, whose only interest lies in bragging rights – or we can stop thinking about music as a school subject, and allow our kids to experience and explore the full awesomeness of music by connecting with one another, and learning together.

As such, Johor Bahru: International Festival City (JB:IFC) is proud to co-present the Johor Bahru Piano Festival, together with the Euroasia Association of Performing Arts. To all participants of the Johor Bahru Piano Festival, just remember this: In music, everybody wins.

Educate. Engage. Empower.
Live the Arts.

Suzie Yap
Festival Director, Johor Bahru: International Festival City (JB:IFC)

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