Music plays an important role in our lives. Whether we’re strumming along to our favorite song, singing in the car with the kiddos in the backseat, or playing the keyboard (or piano) during a family singalong, music lifts our spirits and provides us with the ability to express ourselves through song. However, it does much more than that.
The benefits of music education extend far beyond getting kids to tap their toes. The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) shares the following benefits among the many other reasons to support music education in our schools.
■ Music training helps develop language skills. Studies have shown that music training can contribute to the physical development of the left side of the brain that is associated with processing language.
A 2005 study that was conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that mastering a musical instrument may also improve a child’s reading skills, which can benefit students whether they are inside or outside of the classroom.
■ Music training can improve hand-eye coordination. Studies have linked long-term music training to improved hand-eye coordination. That is likely connected to the motor skills children develop when they are playing musical instruments. Without those instruments, those motor skills may not develop for them as strongly.
■ Music improves concentration. Even students who cannot play a musical instrument can still benefit academically from simply listening to music.
In 2007, a research team from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention. Today’s students deal with numerous distractions in their daily lives, from smartphones to tablets to social media, but those who are routinely listening to various types of music might find it easier to block out those distractions and focus only on their work.
■ Music can help students’ emotional development. A 2003 study that was commissioned by Chorus America found that musicians are more likely than the average person to be involved in charity work as volunteers and donors. The NAfME also notes that music students may be more likely to exhibit empathy toward other cultures.
■ Music can improve self-esteem. In a study examining 117 fourth grade students attending public school, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin found that children who received piano lessons weekly for three years had higher self-esteem than children who were not given piano lessons during the same period. Neither group had participated in formal music instruction before the study, and students in both groups reported similar levels of self-esteem prior to participating in the study.
Supporting music education in our schools is crucial. However, discovering music outside of the classroom provides a variety of benefits for your budding Beethoven as well. It allows her to expand on her musical interests.
Baton Rouge is home to a wide variety of businesses who are here to help your child reach his or her full musical potential. Whether your child prefers piano, guitar, flute, trumpet, trombone, or drums, there’s an opportunity for her to shine in whichever instrument she chooses to play.
Above all, music education can enrich the lives of young students in a myriad of ways. It improves our moods, relaxes us, and teaches us new skills. All this potentially contributes to living happier, more fulfilling lives. ■