Parents often wonder whether they should enroll children in music courses and lessons besides the smattering of music teaching offered in school.
Is the extra time and expense worth it, they ask.
Will my child feel over-burdened with additional homework and study pressure if they take an after-school piano or guitar lesson a couple days per week?
Most good parents ask those sorts of questions, and they should. Educating a child is serious business and anyone who's ever raised youngsters knows about the challenges.
Fortunately, parents who are looking for answers about the value of music education and lessons can find plenty of answers.
That's because many research studies, surveys and long-term academic projects have examined the topic thoroughly.
The consensus: music lessons are one of the best ways to enhance any child's academic, personal and emotional growth.
How Do Music Lessons Help?
There are dozens of ways that music education promotes and assists children's mental and emotional development in multiple areas. Researchers are still uncovering ways in which something as simple as a basic singing class or weekly piano lesson for any young child can propel progress in nearly every other area of academic and personal development.
What are the specific subjects and areas that music education can improve? Here's a short list:
- English and Foreign Language Courses
- Basic and Advanced Mathematics
- General Self Esteem
- Standardized Tests and IQ Scores
- Memory, Focus and Coordination
And that's just an abbreviated version of how music education helps kids get a better all-around education and live a more stable emotional life during some of the most challenging years of their lives.
Beginning with the area of language skills, here's a closer look at exactly how music can turn a so-so student into a higher achiever who has more self confidence and a more mature mind.
Better Language Skills
Teachers and parents have long known that music classes have a direct relationship with better English skills as well as the ability to acquire a foreign language like Spanish, French or Chinese. Scientists say that's because the same parts of the human brain are involved in both skills. The gray matter that controls linguistic ability also coordinates musical skills of all kinds. So if you want your child to do better in Spanish or Language Arts, music lessons could help.
Higher Scores on Standardized Tests
A study published in the Journal for Research in Music Education revealed that children who get regular music lessons of any kind do better on standardized tests. That's just more evidence that music lessons make the human brain more efficient, faster and more accurate in all the different kinds of work it does.
Heightened Memory and Focus
Adult musicians know well the many ways that music learning can boost memory skills and mental focus. The same thing happens in youngsters who take music lessons. Not only do they develop better long-term memory abilities but they also learn to concentrate better on all their school work.
Improved IQ Scores
A large study at the University of Toronto found a clear connection between music lessons and better IQ scores. The researchers tested groups of preschool age children before and after a nine-month course of voice and piano lessons.
Compared to the control group that received no lessons, the kids in the music classes showed significant improvement in IQ scores. Most experts believe that this process continues throughout childhood for kids who stick with some kind of music lessons.
Better Math Comprehension and Grades
Along with formal studies that show enhanced cognitive development in kids and young adults who take music lessons, lots of research has demonstrated that kids who study music do better in mathematics. It's not just about grades, either.
Studying music actually has the ability to give children a deeper understanding of math concepts that they can use later on in courses like economics and engineering.
Enhanced Overall Cognitive Development
A Harvard Medical School academic study demonstrated the deep cognitive development that music education delivers. The research showed that young children who learn to play instruments display faster and more comprehensive brain growth that those who don't take part in music lessons.
Maybe that's why children who take part in regular music classes and lessons tend to do so much better in other subjects like math, language arts and science. Enhanced cognitive development means a better overall mental capacity. At Prodigies Music, we see children day in and day out who not only love music but look forward to attending school each day.
More Self Confidence
Learning about music is an incremental thing, for children and adults. But it's that step-by-step process of learning and getting regular results that helps add to a child's self confidence. When kids see that they alone have the power to control how adept they become, based on how much time they put into their lessons, their minds open up. They discover what it means to "take learning into their own hands."
Plus, because music education often involves singing or performing in front of other people, either classmates or adults, children learn a thing or two about inner confidence. Someday, they'll have to deal with public speaking, job presentations and interviews. These early strides in learning how to sing in tune or play a simple melody on an instrument are essential building blocks for essential skills they'll need in later years.
Sharper Teamwork Skills and Self Discipline
Music education has an uncanny ability to teach kids about the value of work. Yes, music lessons and classes can be fun, but underneath it all is a subtle concept: hard work leads to rewarding results.
One of the many ways children absorb this truth is by taking regular, scheduled music lessons. There's a clear message that slowly takes root in their young minds. They come to fully realize that disciplined self-study pays off.
When kids learn music in a group setting or even with a brother or sister or other family members, they learn the value of teamwork. That's one of the many reasons for encouraging children to join choirs, ensembles, bands or even school orchestras.
Those sorts of efforts are all about teamwork, but most of the children are too busy having fun to realize that such serious stuff is taking place.
For older children, joining a small ensemble, a large school orchestra, or even a rock band encourages teamwork as well as the overall positive feeling that comes with collaborating with a greater community toward a common goal.
What's the Verdict?
The evidence is in, and it clearly proves that music lessons, and music education in general, are one of the most effective, inexpensive long-term ways to deliver solid benefits to children of all ages. The advantages are numerous.
Kids who take music lessons have:
- Better memories
- Higher grades
- Solid emotional development
- Higher IQs
At Prodigies Music, we see first-hand results of how young children benefit from learning about music in a fun way. From preschoolers to kids 12 and older, Prodigies Music's curriculum is fun, informative and offers a complete, well-rounded music education that kids love.
If you want your kids to enjoy all the great things that come with gaining an understanding of music, there's no better time to begin.