I’m always looking for ways to improve my children’s ability to learn and grow. From encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities to playing games that double as learning platforms, I try my best to find fun and unique ways for them to evolve academically. So when my son decided he wanted to learn how to play the guitar, imagine my surprise when I discovered the many academic benefits that can come from playing a musical instrument.
I did a bit of research to see if investing in guitar lessons for kids would be worthwhile. There’s a ton of information out there about music education and its benefits to children (and adults). Below is a brief rundown of what I found:
1. Music Improves Language Processing
There have been several studies to determine how the brain processes music. It has been determined that the brain processes music and language in very similar manners. In fact, a 2005 study conducted by Stanford University shows that learning how to play a musical instrument can improve the way the brain processes language. Learning a musical instrument is great for children who might struggle with grasping concepts or reading or language arts.
2. Music Enhances Memory
According to a study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, children who play musical instruments develop a better verbal memory than a group of their peers. They believe that as children learn to remember music, they are essentially improving non-musical memory as well. Scientifically, the brain has two areas that are associated with memory – the hippocampus and the frontal cortex. These areas are responsible for processing information on a daily basis. Since music provides rhythm and rhyme, it creates the ideal structure for unlocking stored information within the brain.
3. Music Aids with Math
There is research that shows that music and math have a connection. In fact, Albert Einstein was known to play music when he was challenged by a math problem. Certain frequencies and sounds that come from playing music are processed by the two hemispheres of the brain. Specific sounds and tones of music can essentially stimulate one side of the brain more than the other which can create more balance. Essentially, listening to music helps to improve your child’s cognition skills which help them excel in math. According to a study in 2012, students who were allowed to listen to music while taking a math test improved their performance by as much as 40 percent.
4. Music Teaches Self-Awareness
In traditional educational experiences, children are taught to rely on external rewards as a means of self-assessment. Letter grades, prizes, and rewards would ultimately tell a student whether or not they were excelling in their class. However, when children learn to play a musical instrument, they get instant feedback that would essentially motivate them to improve upon their performance. A child learning to play an instrument like a guitar, for instance, will know if they’ve conquered a particular chord by the way it sounds. Based on the sounds, the student can determine how far they’ve come and what areas they need to improve upon.
5. Music Improves Social Skills
Typically when children take up music lessons or decide to learn how to play a musical instrument, they’re taught in groups. As they learn new melodies and practice towards creating a big sound, they ultimately learn how to interact better with their peers. This bonding through music helps them to develop a sense of teamwork.
6. Music Improves Overall Academic Success
With improved skills like language processing, memory, math, and self-awareness, children who learn to play a musical instrument can utilize these skills to advance academically. Studies have proven that children who play music are often more well-behaved, confident, and academically advanced.
7. Music Equals Life Success
Lastly, music can help students to navigate through life a lot easier. Harris Interactive did a study in 2007 in which they found that children who have had musical training at some point in their lives are more likely to excel academically and financially. Statistics showed that about 9 out of 10 people with a post grad education participated in music lessons while in school. Of those, 83 percent had incomes of $150,000 or more per year.
As you can see, allowing your children to play a musical instrument can prove beneficial for their overall educational experience. Music is more than just a fun outlet that your kids will enjoy, but also a staple for helping to improve cognitive, language, social, and memory skills. These improvements will not only help your children to succeed while in school but can also help give them a better foundation to succeed in life in general.