Most children like to sing and dance. What’s more enjoyable than watching a small child moving without inhibition to the rhythm of a song, all the while singing the words at the top of their voice? What you may not realize, however, is that not only will your child reap enjoyment from music, but the child who is privileged to receive a solid musical education will be positively influenced in a number of other ways.
With schools everywhere cutting funding for their music programs, many reports have surfaced touting the advantages of music education and the reasons to save these programs.
How Music Affects Your Child
Most obviously, those exposed to weekly general music classes or private instrumental or vocal lessons will find an outlet for their creativity and self-expression. However, a closer, more-scientific look at music will show that the advantages are indeed much greater than just increased creativity.
Research has showed that learning a musical instrument or merely learning how to read music assists a child in developing higher thinking skills, such as problem-solving and problem-finding, analysis, and evaluation. A child who learns to understand the aspects of reading music, including notation, key signatures, and other items found on a piece of music as well as the child who develops the ability to follow the sequence of notes, is using the same portion of the brain that’s used in mathematical thinking. Gifted musicians, it’s reported, are often gifted mathematicians as well.
Those who study music diligently also develop self-discipline. The serious music student who sets aside time to practice each day will develop similar positive habits in other subjects. Organizational skills are better, grades are higher, and children learn what it takes to excel at something.
Participation in group musical activities builds teamwork, and students learn that working together as a group is essential to the production of a good finished product. They learn to rely on others and to be relied upon. Teamwork also promotes responsibility; i.e. if you’re the only trumpet in the band, you need to show up for rehearsals no matter what!
They’ll also come to understand that music is the thread that binds them together with the world, as cliché as it may sound. Music is indeed the universal language but it also helps children to learn about cultural heritage, their own as well as others, and gives them an insight into history.
The inclusion of a music program in the life of a child who may suffer academically but excel musically is essential. Often, such children will find that music/arts classes are the only time during the day when they feel comfortable and stress-free. It’s so important for a child to know that they’re good at something. If math is a challenge but singing is a breeze, that child should have the opportunity to sing.
A recent study published by Chorus America notes that choral singing and other musical activities enjoy by adults build strong communities, even in later years. The participants in the study noted that the requirements for participation in such a musical experience, like discipline, teamwork, and attention to detail, continue to improve their daily lives, both at work or in their family relationships.