Playing Along — How Music Can Give Children an Enormous Educational Advantage
Music is perhaps one of those elements in our lives that we simply take for granted. It’s all around us and can often evoke poignant memories, set the mood, and provide a unifying or calming atmosphere. Research has also shown that music has many helpful advantages for children, in terms of cognitive development and coordination. The other beauty to music is that there are so many options to choose from — from piano classes, to acoustic guitar lessons, to orchestra music, or even singing! People can start at any age and pick up a beautiful new skill. Children learn that practice really does make perfect and find a lifelong hobby. The arts generate almost $40 billion a year and get just under $3.5 billion on federal income tax returns. Music can bring such joy to people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and religions. It can truly be a unifying force in our world.
What are the Benefits of Getting My Child Involved?
Beginner music lessons, whether it’s guitar lessons for beginners, piano lessons for beginners, or something else entirely, shouldn’t be too difficult to find. If you’re bringing your child for beginner music lessons, it’s often important to let the child choose an instrument that he or she feels attracted to. Making that choice often is motivation for the child to stick with it, rather, than having something be forced upon them.
Almost 80% of Americans say that they feel learning a musical instrument lets students perform better in other subjects in school. And indeed, schools who had music programs had around a 90% graduation ate and almost 94% attendance rate, as compared to schools that didn’t conduct a music program. These schools had just under a 73% graduation rate and under 85% of attendance. Clearly, cutting music programs from schools is not the way to go.
Other than just improving attendance and graduation rates, music is working in other positive ways for children who take beginner music lessons and beyond. In a study on the 2012 SAT, students who were active participants with music scored around 31 points better than the average in reading, 23 points more than the average in math, and 31 points better than the average in writing. Children who paired four months of piano training and time spent playing with computer software scored over 25% better on proportional math and fractions tests than other children.
Music may also help kids feel more satisfied and driven, attributes that carry on into adulthood. Around 70% of adult who were involved in music said that it was somewhat influential in contributing to their current level of personal fulfillment. And children who had access to the arts (music, dance, theatre, art) were three times more likely to get a bachelor’s degree than kids who lacked access to the arts.
What If My Child’s School Doesn’t Provide Beginner Music Lessons?
If you live in an area where the arts are undervalued, take heart! There are sure to be little groups or communities around your area where the arts are flourishing or stubbornly refusing to just “go away.” Some music teachers will often work out of their own homes to provide music lessons and these can often be better, because they’re more personalized. The child will work with the teacher one-on-one to hone his or her musical abilities, instead of in a larger, more generic classroom with fifteen to twenty other children. There may also be a small orchestra, music group, or choir that your child can join to learn the basics in your community, and you might see them advertised on bulletin boards in public meeting areas (libraries, banks, churches, etc.,) or in the newspaper. Churches are another great way to find music in a community — many have children’s choirs or foster music in some way.
Give your child a great head start in life when you encourage them to partake in music. It’s something they’ll probably enjoy for the rest of their life and can give them greater understanding and skill sets into adulthood. It’s something they can feel proud of and learn how much hard work really does pay off!