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"Music as an Important Part of a Child's Educational Journey"

Genre Analysis

Alejandro Loaeza Salcido
University of Texas at El Paso

Mr. Josue Alvarez
March 2nd, 2014
The topic that is going to be discussed in this paper, by comparing and contrasting two
different genres, is the relevance of music education in a child's early learning years. Music can
be heard in several media and places. It may also evoke feelings or bring back memories, but for
a young child, music serves as a learning tool that might bring out the creative process in their
mind. Australian opera conductor Richard Gill, an advocate for music education, believes that it
should be a necessity of a child's early learning stages because it expands on their creative mind
greatly. Gill supports this by stating that "Every child should have access to properly taught
music in the hands of a properly taught teacher". (Gill, 2011).
The genres that will be scrutinized include a typographic genre in the form of an article
published in an educational webpage aimed to parents focused on music education, and an
iconographic genre in the form of a video from a non-profit organization known as TEDx. The
article is titled "The Importance of Music Education in Public Schools" by Gregory
Blankenbehler, and its main focus is to incite the reader to take action in the inclusion of music
programs in public schools. The iconographic genre is a presentation by Richard Gill, a
renowned band conductor in Australia with over twenty years of experience. Gill's main focus is
to highlight the importance of music in a child's developing brain, and how it can help them
expand their creativity further.

Audience and Purpose
The audience, to whom the written informative article is aimed for, is mainly focused on
people who would be willing to take part in the inclusion of music programs in music schools. In
the same way, it may also be focused on parents who might desire their children to be well
educated through music, especially when the author shows data to support his claim. The
purpose might be interpreted as an informative one given the author's notable desire to educate
children to their fullest when he mentions, "The skills I teach them in music classes and
ensembles will not only enable a life-long interest, but will also help them in many other
important areas of their lives and contribute to their success in life." (Blankenbehler, 2010).
The video has a similar demographic in mind, given how the presenter describes music as
a possibility for children to develop their creative drives. This audience would have to be parents
with young children who desire a better educational development for their children. The purpose
would have to be mostly informative because it is not bluntly stated that music is the only way a
child's brain will develop; the presenter then makes it clear that that is his advocacy. He supports
this by mentioning that "Music does not describe, it does not narrate, or tell stories. It evokes, it
suggests, it implies and opens up the mind of a child in extraordinary ways." (Gill, 2011).
Both genres are trying to raise general awareness of the benefits of music education, but
they are also selling the idea that music is the way to go with to develop a child's abilities to their
fullest. The genres are both trying to convince the demographic of parents with young children to
aim their focus to music. For example, the written article uses a famous physicist, Albert
Einstein, to show how important music was in this celebrity's life, and in turn, how important it
could be for their child as well.
In the video genre, the audience is also parents with young children, and in this case it is
targeted to parents who are looking for effective ways to expand their children's learning
activities, to which the article advocates. The presenter, in turn, lists major benefits music could
bring to a child's learning experience, because according to Gill (2011), "It empowers a child to
not only reproduce but to make music of their own and expand their creative minds." This might
lead to them making their children take music classes and following the presenter's advice, which
could have only been believed by the usage of correct language.
The language used in the video by the presenter is formal throughout. The presentation is
designed to convince the audience (parents) of enrolling their children into music programs for
further learning. In this case, a formal language is required and it is appropriate for both the
audience and the purpose of the genre. Given the similar approach of the typographic genre, the
language in the written article is also formal throughout since it is directed to parents and it is
necessary be able to sell the idea at the moment.
Having looked through specific characteristics concerning purpose, message, intended
audience and language from both genres, we can start to pinpoint crucial differences between
them. First of all, the types of genre greatly differs from each other. Writing an article requires
primary or secondary sources for the reader to believe an informative piece such as the one
analyzed. Since the purpose is directly related to the proposal of teaching children music to
enhance their abilities, both genres aim to achieve the same goal. The language maintained
throughout both genres was very similar given the intended audience for both of them. An
informal approach to the topic might have deviated some listeners and readers away from what
the author was trying to say. In this instance, credibility of the author is an important
characteristic that should not be overlooked.
Rhetorical Issues
The author of the written article proves his credibility, or ethos, with his accomplishments
in the field. The author, Gregory Blankenbahler is an accomplished musician and teacher with
eleven years of experience. The author establishes credibility with the data source provided in his
article, which include scientific research papers and scholarly journal articles. It can be assumed
that the credibility of the author is clearly stated.
The credibility of the author of the video is established dimly by name alone. Richard Gill
is a renowned conductor from Australia that mainly teaches children basic music concepts. He
has more than twenty years of experience in both conducting and teaching. His credibility might
be challenged when he mentions that music might expand the imagination of a child without any
proof coming from scientific studies or reports. The author mainly reinstates his credibility with
his experiences and observations from teaching music to children for years. This approach is
effective to convey the message, but may not be completely convincing for the person looking
for actual facts of music education's benefits.
The video evokes emotions of hopefulness for children to be better people in the world by
being creative and imaginative when Gill (2011) mentions that music is abstract and can be
understood by anyone who hears music or creates music, but it will be different for each person.
When the presenter, Richard Gill, narrates examples of child being empowered by music by
hearing certain piece and changing it to make it their own, it shows the possibility for every child
to be just as creative. The written article achieves a very similar purpose of empowering parents
to have a reason to educate their children in music. For example, in the article the author
mentions that Albert Einstein, a famous German physicist, studied music. This achieves the goal
of convincing parents that if they want their children to be smart like Einstein, they should make
music an important part of their lives.
Both genres being analyzed try to deliver their message mainly by evoking a sense of
possibilities for their child to be more creative and mentally active, but they achieve it in
different ways. The written article shows solid data such as statistics proving that music is an
important factor in students grades, such as a citation mentioned from the College Entrance
Examination Board that said that students in music performance scored 57 points higher in SAT
scores. It also manages to deliver its message by mentioning a celebrity regarded in the
community as a genius, and categorizes him as an example of an achieved person who had music
as part of their life. The video, on the other hand, relies mostly on class experiences being
narrated by the presenter. He also relies heavily in the logic, or logos, of his arguments such as
defining music as an abstract concept that gives children a chance to make it their own, which in
turn develops their minds further. While this may be true, no solid proof is provided.

Structure and Delivery
The information provided by the written article is shaped to appeal to a specific audience,
which includes parents with no prior knowledge of music. The author directs his argument to a
public with general knowledge, hence the reference to the known celebrity of Albert Einstein.
The limitations of the article include the short length, which might have been limited due to the
purpose of the webpage which is to be a quick read. Given these limitations, strong claims with
data support were required to deliver the message with consistency and credibility. For example,
when Blankenbehler (2011) mentions "Recent studies have indicated that adolescent music
education produces greater observable physical development in the brain(...)", the author goes
straight to the point and delivers the message with proof cited at the end of the article.
Given the broader range of possibilities that a iconographic genre such as video brings,
the limitations are quite different. The presenter, Richard Gill, has fifteen minutes to talk to an
full auditorium about his proposal. He does this, as mentioned before, by narrating experiences
he has had with children before, and describing how they have changed after taking music
classes. When he makes his point of saying that music is abstract and that it does not mean
anything other than what each person interprets, he plays the piano to evoke emotions in the
audience, making them see that they are all completely different. The pieces that he played on
the piano helped deliver the message in a different way that, arguably, would not have been
achieved by just reading it off an article. Music itself contributed to the message of music
education in children and it empowered the purpose of the genre even more by giving room for
parents to believe what the presenter was saying.
The similarities of both genres have been notably alike, but their freedoms and limitations
make them stand out on their own by themselves. The written article relies heavily on data as
statistics and proof, but on the other hand the video has the possibility of exploiting the sound
element that the article does not have. The organization of both genres was achieved by
introducing the audience to the role of the authors in music education. They both make the
audience see and understand how music is perceived by children, something which might have
not been achieved by someone who is not an expert at the field.

Regardless of essential differences and similarities between the two genres, they try to
achieve the same thing, which is to inform the audience in different ways of music's impact in a
child's life. The effectiveness of the messages is up for discussion, but in the opinion of this
writer, the cold and hard facts are what make the argument stand out the most. Both authors have
extensive experience in the field, but it does not matter if they make us see music as they do,
what matters most is the research done by people who are not related in the field. These people
might see things differently, or they might not care, but the data that they collect will do the
talking for them and give securely credible evidence of the benefits of music in early child's


Blankenbahler, Gregory. (June, 2010). The Importance of Music Education in Public Schools.
Pitch Perfect Publishing. Retrieved from
Gill, Richard. (2011, June). TEDxSydney - Richard Gill - The Value of Music Education [Video
file]. In Retrieved February 15, 2014, from