Imagine for a moment a single extracurricular activity that could universally benefit children academically, socially, and personally. Imagine something that could help develop key brain functions and sharpen cognition, as well as improve self-confidence. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Well, such an activity does exist:
Music education does so much more than just teach children to play an instrument. It’s been proved time and time again that the whole learning process associated with music has a myriad of benefits that go way beyond being able to play a tune, like promoting fundamental brain development and a strong sense of well-being.
Studies have revealed that children involved in high-quality music programs receive consistently higher test scores. Across the country, these students delivered results around 22% higher in English and 20% better in mathematics than students in lower quality music programs. Another study showed that students who engage in music programs ‘outperformed their peers on every indicator: grade-point average, graduation rate, ACT scores, attendance and discipline referrals.’ In addition to higher test scores, music education actually helps to strengthen the brain by aiding in the development of robust brainstem responses to sound. The study points out that such activity during childhood has a direct impact on the way the brain functions during adulthood. Research also suggests that the act of practicing and performing music may strengthen connections in the brain related to decision making, memory, and creativity. There is even evidence that music training may help improve a child’s ability to process and juggle conflicting information, thus teaching the brain to become a better multitasker.
Music education is also a social activity. Music lessons allow children to interact with others that share their interests, promoting friendship and boosting the development of social skills. Involvement in smaller musical groups can teach trust and teamwork, as well as the important skills of negotiation and compromise.
Children involved in music education tend to be more communicative, and have been shown to speak to their teachers and parents more frequently than children who are not involved in music education. These experiences can contribute to a more robust social existence, allowing them to develop effective communication skills that will be of great benefit later on.
Engaging in music education also leads to heightened self-esteem and increased motivation, leading to a higher likelihood of success while at school. A study by the Norwegian Research Council discovered more data supporting this theory when they found a direct correlation between musical competence, positive self-image, cognitive competence, and academic achievement. This boost in confidence helps children on their journey to finding their identity, resulting in an overall improvement in their well-being and self-perception.
The therapeutic qualities of music education are also highly researched and well documented — from the direct impact music has on brain development to the overall impact music education has on a child’s social life and self-image — the benefits are expansive and valuable.
Indeed, music education does so much more than teach children the art and craft of making music; it’s a fun and creative activity that can improve children’s lives — for the rest of their lives.
Article supported by Mundt Music, www.news-journal.com, www.msidallas.com