Are Music Lessons Worth It?
(Has your child been asking for lessons on the piano, the guitar, or maybe even the saxophone?)
- It makes students stronger academically. Researchers have found connections between music lessons and nearly every measure of academic achievement: SAT scores, high school GPA, reading comprehension, and math skills. Music also improves their powers of recall for powerful learning in all subjects. Watch this informative presentation on the correlation between Instrumental Music and Brain Function: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng
- Math and language skills. Music helps develop math and language skills that give kids an edge in school and life. According to the National Association for Music Education, “Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music.”
- It increases Student’s IQ. Numerous studies (including this one in 2004 by E. Glenn Schellenberg) have proven that children’s IQs increase because of even a few weeks of music lessons. Brain scan technology reveals that brain activity increases following musical training, and some parts of the brain even grow larger! (Again, watch the you Tube presentation)
- It teaches them discipline. Your child may be expecting to become a viral sensation overnight, (In our society, instant gratification is the norm) but in fact, he may have to spend hours even just learning the proper way to hold that violin or trumpet before he can even make a sound. Music lessons require hours of concentration and patience. Children must persevere even when things aren’t going well…an invaluable skill for all areas of life. (One of the most common things I hear from parents is that they regret stopping lessons and wished their parents made them continue – let’s face it, we are teaching discipline and commitment. Children rely on parents to make these choices when it may seem easy to simply “Quit”)
- Work Ethic. Music teaches children a good work ethic because they see the value of practice as they improve and reach new achievements. Students will learn how dedication creates good results, while failing to do all the necessary practice results in mediocre results. These lessons can carry into school studies and future careers. Here are some tips to help inspire your kid to practice their instrument. (You may consider learning to play along side your child – especially if you are a parent who regrets giving it up as a child)
- It supports muscle development and motor skills. Children must use their whole bodies to keep the rhythm going when they play. They also must coordinate different motions with their hands at the same time. In doing so, they develop strength and coordination. (Instrumental music requires both hemispheres of the brain to function at the same time – this is one of the only skills that require this – not even sports raise to this level of activity)
- Memory. Is your child always forgetting things? Music requires kids to practice memorization. Even if sheet music is used, students memorize how to play each note and the sheet music eventually becomes a guide. Students can use their developing memorization skills in a variety of ways in school and at home.
- It improves social skills. Teamwork isn’t just for sports. Music students will have opportunities to participate in a band or orchestra. If children play in a group, they have to learn to work together to achieve a common goal, exercising tolerance, patience, and encouragement towards their peers. This provides kids experience working as part of a team and a sense of camaraderie.
- It makes kids feel good about themselves. There’s nothing quite like the sense of pride that comes from working on building a new skill for an extended period of time…especially when the result is beautiful music and then share that new skill in performance. Kids will gain confidence as they begin to perform music for an audience. This helps kids learn to face their fears and builds self-esteem. As kids build up this confidence, they are more likely to boost their communication skills and have increased social development.
- It helps kids understand culture. By learning music from various parts of the globe, students come to understand these cultures, whether it’s African drumming or Argentine tango music.
- It brings joy. And finally, we come to the most important reason of all. When children can play music, it makes them happy…and everyone else too.
And you thought they were just learning how to play an instrument! Little did you know that your children will accomplish so many other wonderful things too.