Top Ten Reasons Your Child Should Take Music Lessons

piano lessonAre you considering music lessons for your child? There are so many extracurricular activities these days and so little extra time, it can be hard to choose the right activity. Here’s the top ten reasons that music lessons should be at the very top of your list as you consider after-school activities.

1. Joy of Music Making:
Simply put, it is fun to play an instrument, and it is a gift that keeps giving. In my experience, the sense of accomplishment that students feel when they play for other people is unmatched by other extra curricular activities. Even as students grow up than can continue to play for their enjoyment. Einstein used the violin to relax when he became stuck in his thinking process. Music making clears the mind and calms the nerves!

2. Self-Discipline:
Children learn how to structure their time at home to prepare for their weekly lessons. The simple use of a practice chart teaches children to set aside time for practicing and to track their progress towards a long-term goal. It is a very kid-friendly way of learning how to plan ahead. And it pays big dividends, I know of business leaders that look for prospective employees that have studied music because of their respect of the self-discipline that is required to excel in music.

3. Develops Higher IQ:
You are probably saying, “What? Really, music lessons can increase my child’s IQ?” Yes, there is evidence to suggest that on the whole music lessons improve general intelligence. A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg of the University of Toronto published in Psychological Science shows that a group of students that took music lessons improved their IQ scores more than a control group that took no music classes. From a personal perspective, I’ve seen first hand how music can help students focus and develop their cognitive abilities.

4. Work Ethic:
Going hand-in-hand with self-discipline, music lessons help to develop a strong work ethic. As students learn a difficult piece of music to perform for a concert, competition or evaluation, they must work hard to memorize and to develop the fine motor skills necessary to be successful. This type of conscientiousness is highly correlated with success in school and life.

5. Reduces Stress:
A short-term and long-term benefit, music has been shown to reduce stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers according to an article in U.S. Today. Music helps us to relax and forget about our troubles for awhile. The act of actually playing music accentuates these effects.

6. Higher SAT Scores:
The College Board reports that in 2012 students that participated in music scored an average of 31 points above average in reading, 23 points above average in math and 31 points above average in writing. In previous years, the results have been similar. While this might only be a correlative relationship, it is still compelling that music students outperform their peers. Music students also do better on other high-school standardized tests too.

7. Improves Memory:
According to Dr. Laurel Trainor, Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior at McMaster University, “Young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year, compared to children who do not receive musical training.” This might account for the higher SAT scores!

8. Long-Term Positive Effects on the Brain:
Research by Erika Skoe and Nina Kraus shows that music training in childhood positively changes to the anatomy and function of the brain and that these changes are carried into adulthood. Prior work linked music lessons to enhanced auditory brainstem encoding with heightened auditory perception, executive function, and auditory-based communication skills. Music lessons create better brains!

9. Leadership:
Many high achievers have studied music. Nearly 100% of past winners of the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology (for high school students) play one or more musical instruments according to the American Chemical Society. And if this isn’t impressive enough, many of our memorable leaders have played instruments or sang including Neil Armstrong, First man on the moon, Baritone, Thomas Jefferson, Former U.S. President, Violin & Cello & Piano, Woodrow Wilson, Former U.S. President, Violin, Harry Truman, Former U.S. President, Piano, Condoleezza Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor/Secretary of State, Piano, Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor of the telephone, Piano, Thomas Edison, Inventor, Piano, Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize Winner, Piano and Violin.

10. Builds Self-Esteem:
In today’s tough world, it is important to build confidence in our children. Music is proven to do this. In fact, a study by Costa-Giomi published in the Psychology of Music investigated the effects of three years of piano instruction on children’s self-esteem. Children in the study were divided into two groups: piano instruction weekly for three years and no music instruction. Both groups had similar levels of self-esteem at the beginning of the study. The researcher found that the children who completed three years of piano instruction had a significant increase in self-esteem while the children who did not participate in piano instruction or dropped out of piano instruction did not have an increase in self-esteem.

With so many great reasons to study music, you probably want to get started right away! If you are in the Orlando area, we would welcome you to the Suzuki Music Institute of Central Florida for a placement interview.

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