By Kate Sheppard
Many parents put their children through music lessons because they provide so many benefits to their development.
Throughout history, children who learn how to play an instrument have often become extremely accomplished – whether it be academically, socially or creatively – and this is because they are extremely beneficial to development.
Join us as we run through some of the extraordinary benefits learning an instrument as a child can provide.
- Music Lessons Optimise Brain Function
As humans, we love to learn. We enjoy the challenge of learning something new that takes time to master. Humans are built to learn. That’s what separates us so drastically from other animals: we love to learn, and we’re very, very good at it.
When learning a musical instrument, children must balance coordination, concentration, memory, and hearing (to name just a few!)
“For many of our children the focus is on creative play-based learning and the development of communication and social skills. Activities involving musical instruments, songs and rhyming provide opportunities for children to develop English language while improving motor skills” says, ICS London Early Years & Primary School.
Children who are taught musical instruments from a young age are said to have optimal brain function compared to those who don’t. This is because learning a musical instrument challenges the entire neurological system at once, helping the brain to develop faster.
- Learning An Instrument Helps Develop Speech
Many people know that learning to read music is like learning a brand-new language, but few people know that harnessing this skill can also increase verbal intelligence.
Studies have shown that music lessons work as a kind of training for the brain, helping develop the neurological pathways responsible for the processing of language.
As such, learning how to read music fluently can help increase verbal intelligence in children, with many learning to communicate more eloquently from a younger age.
- Mastering An Instrument Leads To Higher IQ Scores
Many children who are taught how to play a musical instrument perform far better academically at school than those who don’t.
Musical students tend to have higher test results and grade averages than their non-musical counterparts, setting them apart from the competition.
- Music Lessons Teach Patience
As many parents doubtless already know, children need to learn patience in order to learn music.
Unfortunately, however, learning how to play the violin or the oboe doesn’t happen magically overnight. It requires regular practice, dedication, and patience.
Learning a musical instrument is a great way to teach children that, with patience comes reward. And there won’t be a dry eye in the audience when your child masters the recital piece they’ve been practising for so long.
- Learning Music Develops Reading Skills
Many children struggle to learn to read. And it can be tempting for some to give up completely. In these cases, music might be the answer.
To play a musical instrument, children need to read sheet music – which is a tough skill in itself! And, as they learn how to read music, they will start to read the notes on the page with more ease, playing their instrument along with the notes.
Learning to read in this way can help improve a child’s comprehension of what is written on the page, as well as their confidence and reading speed. This, in turn, could give them the self-confidence needed to tackle reading books with more ease.
- Music Develops Math Skills
Whatever instrument a child is learning to play, it will require a basic knowledge of maths. Music requires children to count, understand beats, play with a rhythm, and play in time with other people.
Drums are an excellent example of this as timing is crucial to creating a catchy beat. As your child develops their music skills, you will find that their understanding of maths should naturally develop alongside.
- Music Encourages Confidence & Self-Expression
Music lessons are a great way to teach a child to be themselves and have a positive outlet for their creativity.
As a child progresses in their musical ability, they will become more comfortable playing around with different notes and allowing their feelings to drive their music.
Some children are uncomfortable sharing their feelings, after all, so in cases like these, music can be a great escape, offering children the opportunity to express their emotions in a positive way.
- Music Increases Memory Capacity
We all know the tunes to our favourite songs and some people seem to know all the words to every song on the radio. So, why is that?
Well, it’s simply because music increases memory capability.
From a noticeably young age, children are able to improve their memory skills by learning a musical instrument.
Music is an effective workout for the brain as children must memorise whole passages of notes, chord positions, and beats. Eventually, as their memory capacity increases, they will one day be able to perform whole pieces without the need for any music. Amazing, right?
- Music Develops Social Skills
Learning a musical instrument allows children to develop their skills in social situations.
Whether your child is keen to form a rock band or be the lead violinist in the school orchestra, learning how to play in a group lets them learn how to respect their peers and listen to others – both invaluable life skills.
If your child is begging you for music lessons but you can’t bear the thought of all that extra noise in your home, take a moment to consider the benefits.
Surely the many pros listed above outweigh the con of putting up with 20 – 30 minutes of practice time a day. Therefore, we highly recommend getting your child started with learning an instrument as soon as you can, to give them the best start in their development.
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About the author
Kate Sheppard is a mum of two, living in Sussex. Kate enjoys writing about the ups and the downs of parenting and isn't afraid to tell it how it is. She’s passionate about all things families, countryside, children's education and women's rights.