Researchers at the University of Southern California Brain and Creativity Institute recently published results of a five-year study that links music appreciation and instruction to accelerated brain development in young children, especially in the auditory system of the brain that is also key in language and reading skills development. This finding builds upon previous studies that discovered differences in brain structure between musicians and non-musicians, and it adds yet another developmental benefit to the ones that have been identified by childhood development experts. Let’s explore further how including music instruction in your child’s list of activities can benefit their academic, physical, social, and emotional development.
helps develop motor skills and coordination
Playing a musical instrument involves moving your arms, hands and with some instruments, your feet, so it is a good way to develop coordination and motor skills. This is especially true with string instruments like the violin and keyboard, which require the right and left hands to make different motions. Also, playing pieces of music involves being able to keep time, a skill that helps in areas like dance and sports.
Helps build understanding of math concepts
Music and math are inseparable. Math concepts like patterns and fractions are important in music theory.
Belonging teaches social skills
When your child participates in a band or chorus, she learns about waiting patiently for her turn to practice or perform. The members of the band or chorus have to work together to learn the proper timing and notes of the pieces they are working on. As your child becomes experienced, she may be offered leadership opportunities in the band or chorus.
Teaches kids how to work towards Goals
Learning how to properly hold an instrument, read music, and play notes and scales has to come first before learning your favorite song, and it can take weeks, even months, of daily practice before your child reaches this goal. Hard work will be needed to reach her next goal and take her skills to the next level.
Music instruction builds confidence
Overcoming that initial steep learning curve and seeing progress in her skills as a musician provides a big boost to your child’s self-confidence. This confidence will become even stronger as time goes on and she takes on increasingly difficult challenges, like playing a solo or trying out for honors chorus.
Introducing music skills & appreciation
Babies and very young children can start participating in music appreciation at home. Play some music and sing and dance with your kids. Find some musical toys, such as tambourines and maracas, designed for young kids and have them play along with the music. There are also introductory music classes for young kids and beginning musicians offered locally like at CSU’s Schwob School of Music and local music store, Everything Musical.
When selecting a first instrument and a music instruction program for your child, definitely take into account your child’s personality. Does she have the maturity to handle the challenge and the hard work involved with learning a new instrument? A group piano lesson may be a good introduction for a young child before she selects an instrument and starts private lessons.
Music resources for lessons and experiences:
Schwob School of Music: musicprep.columbusstate.edu
Everything Musical: everything-musical.com
Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra: yogc.org/us
Columbus Symphony Orchestra: csoga.org/education
RiverCenter of Performing Arts: rivercenter.org