Encouraging your children to learn new things is a great way to help them discover their passions and grow as people. From baseball to ballet, exposing your children to a variety of activities can help them better understand their strengths and find new ways to express themselves.
You can hire piano teachers, sign your kid up for painting classes, or enroll your child in a local sports team. But getting your kids involved in these activities isn’t just about helping your children be more well-rounded or to pad their eventual college resume. Music education is actually vital for all our children. Here are just a few of the many benefits music education has for children:
Increased IQ can help children perform better in school all the way through college — and then perform better in work. Studies have shown that music education can help to improve children’s IQ.
One study published in Psychological Science in 2004 found that 6-year-olds who received weekly voice and piano lessons for nine months had an increased IQ score. Another group of 6-year-olds who received weekly drama lessons had no such improvement. The group that received music lessons showed an average increase of 3 points in their IQ, while the group that received drama lessons showed no increase in IQ points but did show an improvement in social skills. A third group that received no lessons of any kind showed no improvement in IQ or other skills.
Improve Test Scores
It should come as no surprise that if music education can increase IQ it can also improve test scores.
A professor from the University of Kansas conducted a study in 2007 that showed that children who attended schools with the best music education programs scored better on standardized tests. Specifically, they scored 22 percent higher on English tests and 20 percent higher on math tests.
The study attributed this result to two primary factors: Students who participated in music training learned concentration that helped them do better on tests as well, and schools that valued the arts tended to value a higher quality of education and prioritized hiring better teachers across the board.
Encourage Language Development
Music helps to develop the side of the brain that is also responsible for language development, whether children are learning how to play music, learning how to sing, or just listening to music.
Music stimulates the left side of the brain, which is also responsible for decoding and processing language. For that same reason, music can also be used to enhance learning. Why do you think there are so many songs that teach concepts? It’s much easier now to remember that the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone thanks to a tune we all learned as children.
Researchers have also noted that music helps children develop social skills because language mastery is at the root of social competence. By exposing children to music early, it can also help them operate more successfully in society.
Improve Spatial-Temporal Skills
Many people have heard that there is a link between music education and improved math skills. Some believe that this link can be attributed to the timing in music, like the number of beats in a bar and the length of the notes. However, the connection is actually attributed to music’s ability to promote spatial-temporal intelligence.
Spatial intelligence allows people to visualize how things go together, such as the relationship between numbers and patterns. Spatial intelligence also helps students in areas of study such as engineering, architecture, computer science and art.
Develop Memorization Mastery
Children may be reading sheet music when they play, but they still have to remember how to play the notes, how to keep time, and how to read all the cues on the sheet, such as key and tempo. Over time, they will also learn how to memorize certain songs for their performances.
Playing music helps them to master memorization, which will serve them well throughout their education and, later, their career.
Children don’t have to master their instrument in order to develop a greater sense of self-esteem. Learning to play music can help them feel better about their abilities, and it gives them a positive outlet for self-expression, which further reinforces their self-image.
Enrolling children in music programs at a young age can help nurture their burgeoning self-image. Enrolling them during their adolescence can help them weather the troubling phase of puberty, when they are more vulnerable to peer pressure and the judgement of their friends and classmates.
Even if your child’s school does not have a music education program, you can still ensure that your child reaps the benefits of musical training by enrolling him or her for private lessons. You can look for group lessons in your area or hire a private tutor. Even as little as a year of formal training can have a huge impact on your child, who can continue to practice independently and enjoy the music for years to come.