Your child’s musical career is very important, whether he’s going to be the next big name in the industry or his performances will be restricted to the shower. Every child has a lot to draw from a musical education because learning the ‘do re mi’s offers many benefits that the ABCs alone cannot.

He’ll be a better, well-rounded student

young students
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Research has revealed that when children are exposed to opportunities for learning music, they are also better able to learn other subjects and enhance skills that they will ultimately use in other areas.

“A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-for-profit association that promotes the benefits of making music. Via PBS

His language development is enhanced

A major benefit of music for children between 2 and 9 years is an improved language development, a critical factor at this stage. Although the ability to decode sounds and music is naturally given, music education improves on these abilities.

“Growing up in a musically rich environment is often advantageous for children’s language development,” she says. But Luehrisen adds that those inborn capacities need to be “reinforced, practiced, celebrated,” which can be done at home or in a more formal music education setting. Via PBS

kids talking
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The relationship between music and language development has actually been found to go both ways.  As a child’s language skills develop, the part of the brain responsible for processing music is also enhanced.

“The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.” Via PBS

His brain activity is superior

According to research, the brain activity observed in a musician, no matter how young he is, is significantly different from that of a non-musician. The neural activity in children involved in music has greater growth than that observed in people who do not receive musical training. In other words, exposure to music education causes an individual to use more of his brain.

piano lessonIn fact, a study led by Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, found changes in the brain images of children who underwent 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice. The students in the study who received music instruction had improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks, and brain imaging showed changes to the networks in the brain associated with those abilities, according to the Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research. Via PBS

His spatial-temporal skills improve

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A link has been found between spatial intelligence and music. Spatial intelligence is a person’s ability to visualize various elements and match them together and draw conclusions. This is what happens, for instance, when solving a math problem.

“We have some pretty good data that music instruction does reliably improve spatial-temporal skills in children over time,” explains Pruett, who helped found the Performing Arts Medicine Association. These skills come into play in solving multistep problems one would encounter in architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming, and especially working with computers. Via PBS

Better test scores

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The concentration required for musical training has been observed to help improve student’s performance in other classes.

A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts. Via PBS

In addition, music has also been found to be helpful in verbal recall proficiency. Individuals undergoing musical training also tend to remember verbal information stored in their memory.

He’ll be more musical

children dance and sing
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This should always be your motivation to enroll your child into a music class; to make him appreciate all aspect of music and respect the process of learning an instrument. While the previous benefits that we’ve discussed are great, turning your child into the model student should never be the leading motivation for musical training. In fact, it’s also very important for parents to understand that music education does not make children smarter.

“There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake,” Rasmussen says. “The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music,” he adds. “Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.” Via PBS

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