Whether you play a musical instrument yourself or enjoy listening to music while you drive, you likely understand how important music truly is. Despite its appeal, many schools are getting rid of their music education programs. Whether you enroll your child in private lessons or group lessons at school, it’s never too late for your child to pick up an instrument and learn how to play. Although some believe music isn’t as important as the core academic subjects, research has shown that the benefits of music education include impacting their academic success. From improved test scores to the effect music has on brain development, here are just a few of the ways an education in music can benefit your child.
Improved Test Scores
If you’re concerned about your child’s test scores, music can help. Studies have shown that students who are actively involved in a high-quality music education program in school perform better on tests than students who don’t engage in music at all. In fact, a 2007 study showed that students enrolled in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent and 20 percent higher in English and math, respectively. If your child’s school doesn’t offer music education, consider enrolling your child in private lessons- at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where your child gets their music education, as long as they’re given the opportunity to learn the universal language of music.
No Age Limit
When it comes to learning music, there’s no “perfect” age to get your child started. In fact, some experts recommend getting your child active in music from a very young age. Since the brain develops at a rapid age between birth and three years old, this is an essential window for the development of neurons. If you have a very young child, encouraging musical exploration is an easy way to promote their intellectual development. Obviously, your two-year-old won’t be able to sit at a grand piano and play an entire concerto, but toy instruments are an excellent introduction to the real thing and group musical play classes, such as Gymboree, can prepare your child for music classes down the line.
According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain- literally. Studies have indicated that music training physically develops the part of the brain that’s known to be involved in processing language. In fact, an early education in music can actually help wire the brain’s circuits in really specific ways. If you also decide to enroll your child in foreign language classes, the two will work hand-in-hand, as the development of language over time actually enhances the parts of the brain that process music. Ultimately, it’s a win-win situation- a music education improves language development, and learning a foreign language enhances the brain’s ability to process music.
In addition to building language skills and improving testing scores, learning music can help build your child’s self-esteem. Learning to play new pieces of music on an instrument can be challenging but, once mastered, your child will feel an unparalleled sense of achievement. This sense of achievement, when combined with things like mustering up the courage to play in front of an audience, can gradually build your child’s self-esteem over time. Ultimately, music performance teaches young people to conquer their fears and take risks. A little performance anxiety is a good thing, especially since your child will become more and more confident with each recital or public performance.
We all know that listening to music can help relieve stress, but did you know that playing music has the same effect? Playing music, no matter the instrument, gives children a release. Whether it’s hour-long choir rehearsals or mini jam-sessions in your home, music is a positive way for children to release stress. Since it provides them the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in something that’s fulfilling and calming, they’ll be able to temporarily escape the pressures of life while they practice or perform. This mentality can then be transferred to other areas of their life. For example, if they find themselves feeling stressed out about a test they can mentally escape to a particular piece of music and may find the stress slowly slipping away.
Above all else, music will help bring out the creativity in your child, which can have a positive impact on his or her future. According to the Arts Education Partnership, employees identify creativity as one of the top five skills they look for in potential employees. Furthermore, those who take music lessons as a child will find that skills like teamwork, creativity, and communication, which are all “learned” in one way or another during music education, are crucial parts of their career, regardless of whether they’re working in music or in other fields. At the end of the day, enrolling your child in music lessons will teach them valuable life lessons- lessons that they’ll use in high school, college, and beyond.