Strike Up the Band: 5 Fantastic Benefits of Music Education for Kids
When was the last time you listened to music? If you’re like most Americans, it was probably very recently, or maybe you have some music playing in the background right now. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of music in our lives; music has the power to move us, soothe us, get us fired up and inspire us.
TV and movie producers use music to cue viewers’ attention and emotions. Retailers know how the right soundtrack can drive shoppers to spend more money, while marketers capitalize on jingles’ catchy tunes to build their clients’ brands. And of course, some of the most celebrated individuals in our country and around the world are those who make and play music for a living.
There are plenty of benefits associated with listening to music, but have you ever wondered about the advantages that a musical education confers? Wonder no more — read on to learn about the 5 best reasons to get your child involved in music!
Music Can Help Raise IQ
A study conducted at the University of Toronto at Mississauga found that six-year-old children who received weekly music lessons — piano and voice, in this instance — had higher scores on an IQ test than students who did not have music instruction.
This boost in intelligence may be thanks to greater neuroplasticity in the brain provided by music. Scientists have known for a while that musicians show structural and functional differences in the areas of the brain that relate to music when compared to non-musicians, but a different study, this one conducted by researchers at McGill university, Boston College, and Harvard Medical School, wanted to look at the development of children’s brains with and without formal instruction in music. Their findings support the notion that learning music led to greater plasticity in some regions of the brain.
Music Can Be Beneficial to EQ, Too
The increased neurological growth of children’s brains isn’t just limited to those regions, however. Researchers at the University of Vermont looked at over 200 children who learned to play an instrument. They found improved cortical organization in regions of the brain that regulate emotions and manage anxiety.
It’s no secret that music is an incredibly effective way to convey and express emotion; the sound designers of movies and television shows use it to those ends in such a subtle way that many viewers don’t even realize that music is playing throughout much of the program. But it seems that the effect of music goes even deeper, and that lessons can help the very formation and control of emotions.
Music Improves Language Skills
You have probably heard that the relationship between music notes is analogous to the structure of mathematics and that therefore, music training is a great practice for math class. But did you know that learning an instrument or vocal training can also help a person’s language-related abilities?
Learning to hear differences in pitch, tenor, tone, volume in music is very much like learning to hear similar differences in speech. This helps with language processing and the individual’s acuity for picking up foreign languages down the line.
Music is a language of its own and the more deeply a student understands any language’s building blocks and structure, the better that student will be at picking up additional languages. You can learn more about learning “the language” of music at htt
Music Provides Physical Benefits
So far, we’ve focused on the benefits that music instruction confers to the brain. It’s equally advantageous to other physical systems, however. For starters, it’s very important to learn breath control when you are playing a woodwind or brass instrument, or taking voice lessons. Every instrument requires the player to have good posture so that he or she can coax the best possible sounds from their instrument and project them to the audience.
In addition, fine and gross motor skills come into play. And kids who are learning to play a musical instrument develop hand-ear coordination, developing a finely calibrated sense of which movements create what type of sound, how much pressure to exert on a key or string to produce a particular effect, and the way that subtle changes in posture can affect the musical output.
Music Can Help Save At-Risk Kids
If you’ve ever watched the competition show America’s Got Talent, you know that some of the most popular acts are musical groups comprising students from the inner city, like 2019’s runner up, Detroit Youth Choir.
It stands to reason that kids who get involved in any type of performing arts activities would become more invested in their own future, and by extension their own education, but now research is confirming this theory. A number of studies are now emerging that show how involvement in community music programs, as well as taking individual lessons, can benefit kids in underserved neighborhoods.
Turn It Up!
Of course, learning music — whether it’s playing the drums, shredding on the guitar, or honing your vocal chops to hit the high notes — is also just plain fun. The remarkable benefits of music instruction are, in a sense, secondary to the everyday enjoyment that your child will get from learning how to play her favorite Disney tune on the piano or emulating the bassist of a band he loves.
Did you play an instrument in your school band, or have you taken lessons as an adult? Does your son or daughter show any interest in becoming a musician? Let us know your experience in the comment section below!