Benefits of Music Education for Children, Why it Matters

By Kim Finnigan, Violin/Viola Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Kim Finnigan, Instructor at The Lesson Studio

Kim Finnigan

You’ve heard that music education is important to your children, but no one really seems to go into details as to why it’s important.  Most of the uproar is heard when music programs in public schools are up at the chopping block because of budget cuts.  “Save Music in our schools!”  Why? Why does it matter?

On the most simple level, studying music, teaches our young ones how to become self sustained, and self-directed learners.  They learn goal-setting, and the benefits of working hard (practicing) are easily discernible when they can hear how good they sound.  How’s that for positive reinforcement?  Good pitch discrimination benefits learning to read by enhancing the phonemic stage of learning.  Your child is learning to listen, and it carries over in learning to read.  Reading or composing music engages both sides of the brain.  It is an entire brain activity.  Music in the school curriculum may be a valuable tool for the integration of thinking across both hemispheres of the brain.  This is vitally important as your child’s brain is developing, giving them more brain power as they mature.e

Performing music, even in a group setting is teaching your child to work through anxiety.  Good musicians aren’t cool as clams when they perform.  They’ve just learned to work through it.  This can carry over in all things life, from job interviews, public speaking, giving presentations…you name it.  Music classes also teach leadership skills.  Instrumental music sections tend to have section leaders, who have worked hard for their positions within the classroom.  Depending on some music teachers, these positions can carry great responsibility.

Facts:

  • Music Students are more likely to receive academic honors and rewards than non-music students.
  • High school music students tend to score higher on the SAT in both verbal & math than their peers.
  • Music helps you think by activating and synchronizing neural firing patterns that connect multiple brain sites.  This synchrony increases the brain’s efficiency and effectiveness.
  • In 2003, California schools participating in the Math+Music program (piano lesson in conjunction with math software) scored 25% higher in math proficiency than schools who not participating in the program.
  • Music helps children gain musical intelligence, vocabulary, an understanding of symbols and sequence, and an increase in memory and auditory function.

Sources:

  1. National Center for Educational Statistics, 1990
  2. The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006
  3. Brain-Based Learning, Eric Jensen
  4. Arts with the Brain in Mind, Eric Jensen
  5. Music & Cognitive Achievement in Children, Norman Weinberger
  6. http://www.schoolmusicmatters.com/resources/justfacts.php?r=40
  7. Self-Esteem: A Byproduct of Quality Classroom Music, Laverne Warner

Related Video to embed: http://youtu.be/mw4vqll9cAM

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