The Benefits of Music Lessons for Children

Every parent wants their child to succeed. Providing a child with a firm foundation in the form of education and life skills is a must if you want your child to achieve great things. However this doesn’t just mean simply enrolling them in a good school; extracurricular education programs can teach your child any number of life lessons and valuable people skills.

One such example is that of music education. Enrolling students in after school or weekend music classes is an effective way to give your child a great advantage, not only in their scholastic education, but in real life as well.

From voice lessons for your budding Beyoncé to piano lessons for your Rachmaninoff in the making, keep reading to learn some of the beneficial reasons why you should enroll your child in a musical education program.

Music Education May Improve Academic Performance

While there is some dispute as to the validity of this claim, it seems that there is a large body of evidence to support it. There have been a number scholarly articles and research papers in recent years that studied the correlation between test scores of students who were enrolled in musical education programs in comparison to those who participated in non musical extracurricular activities.

One notable example, In his 1996 doctoral dissertation at East Texas State University, D.E. Trent posited, based on data collected during his research, that high school seniors who had participated in instrumental music programs from 6th through 12th grades scored significantly higher on standardized tests of language arts and math than their counterparts who had participated in non-music extra-curricular activities or who had not participated in extracurricular activities.

Another example, Cobb, T.A. (1997) ‘A comparison of the academic achievement of students who have a musical background versus students who do not have a musical background’, found that students who were given weekly piano lessons scored higher on general cognitive and spatial testing than their peers in the control group after years one and two of the study, with scores averaging  out in the third year.

General cognitive skills are necessary for learning and include attention, memory, logic and reasoning. Spatial skills are those utilized by students to mentally visualize and manipulate pattern and are necessary for success in other academic subjects such as mathematics.

While this field of study is actively being examined and re-examined, the evidence seems to support that music education has at least some correlation on test scores and academic development in students.

A Creative Outlet Can Benefit Mental Health

Many experts say finding a creative outlet is an important part of life. In fact, it’s good for mental health. Studies show that people who indulge their creative interests experience fewer negative emotions and more positive ones, feel less depressed, and even experience lower rates of anxiety and stress.

While we may not be quick to associate childhood with being stressful, between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and peer relationships, children have an equivalent amount of “stuff on their plates” so to speak, as teens or adults. By providing a child with a creative outlet by which to express themselves, you can provide a constructive way for a child to deal with negative emotions.

As cited in the paper entitled ‘The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature’ by Heather L. Stuckey, DEd and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH…

“The idea that creative expression can make a powerful contribution to the healing process has been embraced in many different cultures. Throughout recorded history, people have used pictures, stories, dances, and chants as healing rituals. there has been much philosophical and anecdotal discussion about the benefits of art and healing, but less empirical research exists in the literature. In fact, although arts therapy has been used clinically for more than a century, and has been recognized as a profession since 1991, much of the published work is theoretical in nature, with little discussion of specific outcomes. Only in recent years have systematic and controlled studies examined the therapeutic effects and benefits of the arts and healing.”

The study further goes on to say:

“Music is the most accessible and most researched medium of art and healing, and there has been a principal emphasis on the soothing capacity of music and its ability to offset overly technological approaches to care. In particular, music therapy has been shown to decrease anxiety. The pleasure shared by participants in the healing process through a music therapy program can help to restore emotional balance as well. There is also evidence of the effectiveness of auditory stimulation, together with a strong suggestion that such stimulation abolishes pain, as a strategy for achieving control over pain.

In addition, it has been shown that music can calm neural activity in the brain, which may lead to reductions in anxiety, and that it may help to restore effective functioning in the immune system partly via the actions of the amygdala and hypothalamus. As the activity levels of neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala decrease in response to calming effects of music, there may be corresponding reductions in the signals being sent to other parts of the brain.”

Put simply, creative outlets are not only beneficial for, but may also be integral to overall well being.

Conclusion

Studies show that music has positive effects on education, as well as health and behavior. Additionally, music teaches self dependence in the sense that children can self-direct their practice time. This can allow them feel a sense of autonomy. It helps them feel that they are in control of their futures. And with that added boost of self confidence, the sky’s the limit.

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