Between sports teams, school activities, and church groups, our children have more options than ever when it comes to filling their free time. So why music lessons?
If you’ve been hesitant about adding music lessons to your child’s schedule, we’ve made a list of 6 benefits of investing in a music education for your children. These benefits extend far beyond that of becoming proficient in an instrument and truly extend into every facet of life. Not too mention, developing a musical ability is a skill that can truly last a lifetime as you never grow too old to continue practicing your art. So whether your child becomes the next Mozart or not, they are sure to develop crucial life skills along their musical journey.
A music study conducted by the American Psychological Association has shown that “taking music lessons in childhood was a significant predictor of a higher IQ in young adulthood and a history of better high school grades” (“Music Lessons May Boost IQ and Grades”). Students who start music lessons between the ages of 6-11 demonstrate “an increased IQ, improve test scores and maintain better reading comprehension than their non-musically trained peers.” Playing and listening to music stimulates and expands the brain in a way unlike any other activity. In many ways, it is literally like learning a brand new language. Other academic skills that participating in music can refine include studying, memorizing, increased vocabulary and a better understanding of other cultures.
Learning a musical instrument helps develop hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. The majority of instruments have the right and left hands playing two different yet complementary parts. These lines almost always differ in rhythm and melody requiring the brain to train itself to perform both tasks simultaneously. In addition to playing with both hands, musicians learn to become master multi-taskers as they often have to accomplish many other tasks such as following their conductor, turning pages, watching for cues from fellow band or orchestra members, and much more.
Private music lessons provide a forum in which students can receive constructive feedback in a safe and positive environment. It is this series of experiences including small successes and even failures on a continual basis that stimulate the student’s self-confidence as they experience pushing through hard times. In addition, music lessons provide frequent opportunities for students to practice presenting in front of a crowd. Students and children learn to manage nerves and get out of their comfort zone from these experiences and they are skills that truly permeate into every aspect of life. Learning and practicing how to confidently stand up in front of a crowd is a skill that very easily translates from the classroom to stage and on to every aspect of daily life.
Listening to music and participating in music lessons can provide significant relief from stress and anxiety. As a student focuses and concentrates their attention on music, it can serve as a healthy distraction from the challenges, stresses and anxieties life brings. Music has the ability to elevate mood, relieve symptoms and even ease physical pain. Music acts as a vehicle for positive self expression, a crucial outlet necessary for human nature.
Music lessons, in their many different forms, introduce students to the benefits of peer interaction and teamwork. Private lessons require students to effectively communicate with their instructor and be held accountable for the work they were required to perfect. Group music lessons or other forums such as a choir or orchestra require students to work together to create a beautiful piece of music. They must communicate and listen to each other to achieve success. As a result, bonds and friendships are nurtured in a way that cannot be replicated.
Private music lessons provide a forum in which students can practice receiving constructive feedback in a safe and positive environment. In today’s world of high speed internet and instant gratification, we’re acclimated to getting what we want with minimal effort, right when we want it. Music lessons (being slow and gradual in nature) provide an excellent way in which we can teach our children that rewards await those who work hard and never give up. Though it can be a slow process, gradual progress is the key to any successful musician. Through structured practicing and experiencing the successes and failures along the way, students are sure to be exposed to the fulfillment that comes from persevering. The work ethic built by refining these areas of life are unique to music and will serve the students for many years to come.
Munsey, C. “Music Lessons May Boost IQ and Grades.” American Psychological Association 37 (2006): 13. http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun06/iq.aspx