Have you ever found yourself yelling for your child to turn the music down? Well you might want to think twice … and instead crank those tunes up and hand your child an instrument. Research shows that music lessons offer some surprising benefits — many of which can translate into a better “performance” in school (as well as in the school band). Here, one music-loving mom shares her personal research into 7 impressive perks associated with music lessons. Drumroll please ….
By Katie Femia
One, two, three, four … With all of the counting and time signatures, it makes sense that learning a musical instrument can help strengthen a child’s ability to do mathematics and problem-solve. Years of research have borne that out. But what about socially? Emotionally? Physically? Personally? It turns out that music lessons can be an effective way to help children grow in all of these areas, too.
My own daughter began playing the piano at the age of nine years old. It was something she had asked us to sign her up for after she received a keyboard for Christmas the year prior. She was at the age where we expected more responsibility from her, and we were also looking for an effective way for her to channel her feelings. It turns out that music lessons were able to help her in both of those areas. At the end of a long school day she enjoys heading to the studio and working with her instructor on the piano. Being able to use her hands to create something beautiful is a therapeutic and personal experience for her, and the work expected from her in the session — and even after the session ends — has helped build her desire to be responsible and help herself excel. As lessons continue I am seeing growth in other areas of her life as well.
Here’s a medley of the amazing benefits that can come with taking up an instrument.
1. Music Lessons Help Improve Memory.
Whether your child is memorizing the alphabet, multiplication tables, or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, they will need to be able to focus on the information and store it in a retrievable manner. Music reinforces memory in the sense that it requires the child to memorize notes along with hand/mouth movement, turning the information into a tune. Using this part of the brain often to store and recite information is important, and music lessons continue to put memorization skills into practice.
2. Music Lessons Help Relieve (or prevent) Stress.
Artforms are a wonderful way for children to express themselves while relieving tension at the same time, and music is no exception. The hands-on experience, the practice of manipulating the instruments, and the sound of the music that is created can all help put children at ease–especially after a long day at school.The music school my child attends actually has an outreach program for kids with special needs: The instructors take musical instruments into schools and allow children with special needs to experience them hands-on as a form of therapy.
3. Focus is Strengthened During Music Lessons.
Traditional classroom learning typically involves long periods of sitting and concentrating, which can be a challenge for children. Music lessons can help children improve their focus, as their concentration and attention to detail is important when learning and then performing a tune. Their focus in lessons will bring about a reward of being able to perform the tune. The positive feelings that result from this accomplishment will no doubt strengthen their desire and ability to focus on goals related to the classroom.
4. Music Lessons Help Develop Fine Motor Skills.
Fine motor skills include tasks that are done with the fingers, and they typically require hand and eye coordination. Learning to play a musical instrument can help strengthen a child’s fine motor skills, which can come in handy in the classroom when the child writes (in print or cursive), paints, cuts, measures, glues, and so on.
5. Music Lessons Enhance Self-Esteem.
When a child becomes familiar with playing a musical instrument, they can feel a great sense of pride in their accomplishment. As they realize that they can entertain others and even evoke emotions through their performances, their confidence may grow even more. Every child wants to feel like they are good at or successful at something, and music lessons give them the chance to do that … and then treat others with their talent. The resulting self-esteem follows that child throughout their school day and throughout their life.
6. Accountability is created.
My daughter’s piano lessons are an intense 30 minutes in length, so it important she is ready with her music sheets, notebook, and a sharpened pencil in hand when the lesson begins. She knows that stopping to find any of these items during the lesson would take away from valuable class time. The “homework” or practice that music instructors give out also can help create accountability in kids. These requirements have taught my daughter to be accountable for her things, and shown her how accountability can help her make the most of the opportunities she is offered. Children who take music lessons can carry this skill of accountability over to their classroom life, where deadlines for homework and classwork need to be met.
7. Responsibility is encouraged.
Whether you decide to rent or own your child’s instrument, you will find it does not come cheap. Caring for the instrument properly is essential to protect your investment. Music lessons teach your child to be responsible for cleaning, caring for, and storing their instrument properly. The habits kids learn in music lessons can translate into increased responsibility for their school supplies, homework, and even their actions.
With back-to-school season well underway, it’s a great time to start looking at after school activities like music lessons, which can help your child succeed in the classroom. You will find music classes for all levels and all types of instruments at local music schools or conservatories listed on the ActivityHero website. There are options for every budget and every interest, so do some exploring and what might interest your child!