The process involved in learning a musical instrument can lead to various lifelong benefits. The younger one starts this process, the longer he or she can reap the positives that come from it. Adults tap into learning music to reduce stress or keep their brains flexible as they age, but children who take music lessons develop social and cognitive skills that better prepare them to succeed in both school and life.
If you’re considering enrolling your child in music lessons but aren’t quite sure if it will be worth the investment, here’s what we know to be true: Science is proving that learning music is a catalyst for future academic success.
Social Benefits of Music Lessons
Many of the social benefits that come from learning music can be transferred to success in the classroom. Music lessons can help your children develop soft skills from a young age that can make them better students.
1. Listening Skills
Becoming a good musician starts with learning to listen carefully to notice small details. Dynamics, articulations, textures, and other elements are what make a piece sound beautiful and require more than simply playing the right notes. Children who concentrate on listening to their playing as well as that of the musicians they perform with learn that a larger idea is made up of many smaller parts. This often translates to a better ability to listen to other people’s views and think critically about them outside of music.
Learning a musical instrument isn’t easy. Most children struggle to make a good sound on theirs and play in time when they first start, but developing the will to keep trying and pushing to get better sets them up to do the same elsewhere in life. This skill will keep them motivated to tackle struggles instead of giving up when things get hard.
3. Stress Relief
Children with outlets for managing stress are better equipped to manage challenges — including tough courses in school. Both listening to relaxing music and playing favorite pieces can be excellent ways for them to step away from the stressful parts of their lives and focus on something they love.
4. Time Management
Many older children’s schedules are packed with rigorous courses, sports, and clubs, meaning they can struggle to make time for everything they need to do. Children who fit daily practices, weekly lessons, and occasional performances into their schedules while still keeping up with other commitments increase their ability to manage their schedules wisely — and avoid falling behind when they are older.
Boosting creativity may an obvious benefit of learning music, but it is also a skill that many non-musicians need to succeed in the modern workforce. Startup operations, self-employment, and career choices that didn’t exist a decade ago are just a few examples of the need to be able to do something that hasn’t been done before or reimagine basic concepts in a new way. Many of today’s classes are structured to build creativity and curiosity — rather than the emphasis on rote learning and fact memorization that was more common in the past — and getting a head start in creative thinking will prepare your child to succeed in school and beyond.
Cognitive Benefits of Music Lessons
Learning music also has several cognitive benefits that have direct impacts on academic success. Music lessons can result in improved grades in specific subjects, better critical thinking skills, and even higher test scores, all of which set children up for successful academic careers and future employment.
6. Critical Thinking Skills
Taking music lessons and playing an instrument requires children to think of many things at once, which makes their brains work harder. Simultaneously tracking notes, rhythms, stylistic choices, and blending with other musicians requires different parts of the brain to work at once, which boosts neurological development as well as fine motor and critical thinking skills. Being able to think critically and connect ideas to other subjects prepares children for the higher-level thinking that leads to academic success.
7. Improved Math Skills
Learning about rhythm from a young age provides a foundation for understanding in-depth mathematical concepts in school. Counting and understanding fractions are essential skills for musicians, and many young music students begin learning these concepts earlier than they would in school. Children who absorb challenging math at a younger age than their peers often earn higher grades in math classes and are better prepared to succeed in difficult math courses in high school.
8. Improved Language Skills
Music isn’t called the “universal language” for no reason. Between learning how notes and rhythms work together to create a piece and memorizing a variety of terminology, music is a language of its own. Many of the terms that tell musicians how to play in various styles are drawn from Italian, Latin, French, and other languages. Recognizing roots and patterns in these languages can help build your child’s vocabulary and spelling skills, as well as boost their aptitude for studying foreign languages.
9. Higher Test Scores
Because learning music often leads to higher grades in math, language, and other subjects, music students tend to perform higher on standardized tests than students who do not study music. One 2007 study revealed that elementary school students who take music lessons or are involved in high-quality school music programs score approximately 22% higher in English and 20% higher in math on statewide standardized tests than those who attend schools with poor or no music programs.
Enroll Your Student In Music Lessons Today
The academic and personal benefits of music education will help set your student up for a lifetime of academic and personal success. At Sloan School of Music, we offer private and group music lessons on various instruments to students of all ages. Our staff would be happy to make recommendations based on your child’s age and interests to help him or her get the best possible introduction to the world of music.