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Importance of Music Education For Children

Your child will undoubtedly benefit from some type of music education whether she chooses to become the next Taylor Swift or sings her solos in the shower. The sa-re-ga-mas or do-re-mis can help kids succeed in areas beyond learning their ABCs, according to research.

Beyond Just Music

According to research, playing music improves skills that kids inevitably utilise in other disciplines and make learning other subjects easier.

A youngster learning about music must draw upon numerous skill sets, frequently at the same time. Making music takes more than just the voice or the fingers on an instrument. Kenneth Guilmartin, co-founder of Music Together, a music development programme for infants through kindergarten that includes parents or caregivers in the lessons, cites examples of how people use their ears, eyes, and large and tiny muscles.

Language Development

The benefit of music for language development—which is crucial at that stage—is one of the triumphs in that field when it comes to kids between the ages of two and nine, according to Mary Luehrisen, Executive Director of NAMM Foundation USA. Although children are already able to understand sounds and words when they are born, music education helps to improve these innate skills. “Language development in youngsters is frequently benefited by coming of age in a musically rich culture,” the author claims. But Luehrisen adds that those innate abilities must be “supported, practised, celebrated,” and that this can be done either at the warm ambience at home or in a more formal setting like school.

The impact of music instruction on language development may be observed in the brain, claims the Children’s Music Workshop. The left part of the brain, which is known to be important in language processing, is physically developed by musical training, according to recent studies, and its circuits can even be literally rewired. The company asserts that connecting well-known songs to fresh material can also aid in imprinting knowledge on young minds.

Young children benefit socially from this connection between language development and music. As per Dr. Kyle Pruett, Musician and Prof. Child Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, the development of language over time seems to increase regions of the brain that help process music. Social competency starts with language competence. The ability to communicate effectively is strengthened by musical experience.

Increased IQ

In a 2004 edition of Psychological Science, a research by E. Glenn Schellenberg from University of Toronto, Mississauga, discovered a slight improvement in the IQs of six-year-olds who had weekly voice and piano lessons. Twelve six-year-olds had voice and piano lessons from Schellenberg for nine months; another set of six-year-olds received theatre classes to determine if exposure to the arts in general instead of simply music had an impact; and a third group received no instruction at all. Before starting first grade and again before starting second grade, the kids’ IQs were tested.

Surprisingly, the kids who took music lessons throughout the academic year scored three IQ points more on average on tests compared to the other groups. Although the theatre group’s IQ didn’t rise as much as the music-only group’s, it did show improvements in social behaviour.

The Brain Works Harder

According to research, even a young musician’s brain functions differently from a non musicians. According to certain credible neuroscience studies, children who participate in music education see more growth in their cerebral activity than those who do not.

In fact, a study led by Ellen Winner, a psychology professor at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, a neurology professor at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School, discovered alterations in the brain pictures of kids who received weekly music instruction for 15 months. As per the Dana Foundation, a privately held philanthropic organisation that supports brain research, the study’s participants who took music lessons demonstrated improvements in sound discrimination and fine motor tasks, and brain imaging revealed changes to the brain networks related to those skills.

Spatial-Temporal Skills

A causal relationship between spatial intelligence and music has also been established through research, which suggests that teaching kids to visualise musical parts can help them solve maths problems.

Performing Arts Medicine Association co-founder Pruett says, “We have some very excellent data indicating music teaching does dependably increase spatial-temporal abilities in kids over time.” One would need these abilities to solve multi-step problems in maths, art, gaming, engineering, architecture, and especially computer work. 

Improved Test Scores

According to a 2007 study by Christopher Johnson, Prof. Music (education & therapy) at University of Kansas, students in elementary schools with high-quality music education programmes outperformed those in schools with low-quality music programmes on standardised tests by about 22% in English and 20% in maths, regardless of socioeconomic differences between the schools or school districts. According to Johnson, practising music demands the same level of attention as focusing to do well on a test.

Johnson’s study emphasises the benefits of a good music education on a young child’s success outside of test results. In two phrases, Luehrisen summarises this psychological phenomenon: “Schools with rigorous curricula and excellent music and arts instructors probably have excellent teachers in other areas. Even those who aren’t doing these things have a drive to improve in a setting where there are lots of individuals doing creative, clever, amazing, and joyous things.

And it doesn’t stop there: in addition to enhancing performance on tasks requiring focus, music training can aid in fundamental memory recall. According to Pruett, “formal music training is also connected with other cognitive skills including verbal memory proficiency.” Those who have received formal musical training typically do well at recalling linguistic knowledge from memory.

Being Musical

It’s crucial to realise that while music can help your child with learning and other non-musical tasks, it does not necessarily make one smarter. According to Pruett, among the numerous inherent advantages of music education include the ability to be disciplined, master a skill, become a part of the music community, manage performances, or even be proud of something one has worked for.

The benefit of music education mustn’t be overselled to encourage an unrealistic expectation. It is essential to choose music education primarily for the sake of music and not the benefits that tend to come along. 

Having said that, MS Dhoni Global School, Bengaluru, ensures that beyond just providing a world-class academic experience to students, we provide them the most nourishing environment and education to hone their creative pursuits. In association with the Furtados School of Music, students of MS Dhoni Global School can now learn from expert musicians at the school campus, during school hours!