Through many years of teaching children (of all ages), I can testify to the enormous body of scientific studies affirming the benefits of music instruction. Below is just a few of the tangible and long-term positive results from early music training.
1) Self Esteem and Confidence: School children who have regular music study consistently score higher in other areas, including reading, math, and science. As they acquire even beginning skills, they own their progress and are motivated to continue learning. Along with a practical understanding of the value of discipline, and greater skill, students’ self-esteem grows.
2) Cooperation and Listening: Music instruction offers rewarding opportunities to work with others. The give and take necessary to make music work well together develops listening skills and focus. The work towards a common goal greater sensitivity to fellow students and there is a natural bond that develops from this shared challenge of creating a musical whole.
3) Form and Structure: Like most important endeavors, learning forms, patterns, and concepts are crucial. Music is learned through oral, aural, visual, and physical participation. “What wires together fires together.” Significantly, the corpus callosum, the bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain, can be up to 130% larger in musicians due to music being one of the few “whole brain” activities.
4) A Model for Learning, Transferable Skills: Many high achieving adults in all walks of life turn out to have had music lessons while young. They often credit music instruction with helping them approach complicated learning challenges, knowing how to figure out steps to attain expertise. And many continue to be involved in music throughout their lives, either semi-professionally or for personal fulfillment.
5) Fostering Creativity, Self-expression: Music unlocks a rich medium for personal expression and often leads to a more enhanced self-directed education, in whatever field. Inventors, creators, and scientists understand how important the idea of “play” is to the discovery of solutions and innovations, and even problem-solving in your personal life. All disciplines involve modeling, but music invites personal interpretation, and this kind of engagement, that element of “play,” is one of the joys to be found in the pursuit of making and appreciating music.
Oops, there’s one I forgot: Music is Fun!