When I tell someone that I teach piano, the initial response I get is, “I wish I had taken piano lessons when I was younger” or “I wish my mom forced me to continue piano lessons rather than letting me quit.” Since I started teaching in 1992, no one has ever said, "I wish I hadn't learned how to play the piano."As adults and parents, we seem to understand how essential and beneficial learning to play an instrument is in our childhood and adolescent years. Parents have various reasons for investing in music lessons for their kids. One of the main reasons is parents’ belief that music lessons will help their kids in school. And they are right! This is one of the 5 top reasons why kids need to learn a musical instrument. As shown by research, taking music lessons has numerous benefits especially in the development of intelligence and character. Here are 5 Top Reasons for getting your kids involved in music lessons.
1. Music Lessons Enhance Brain Development.
Many research studies have been conducted to measure the effects of learning a music instrument on cognitive development. Findings indicate that children who take music lessons over several years show greater improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning skills which are necessary for learning math and science. Music-making kids surpass their classmates who don’t take lessons in reading comprehension. In addition, children who take music lessons benefit from improved memory skills. When we look at the research, it is easy to see that taking music lessons over a prolonged period gives kids an academic advantage to the point of increasing IQ and SAT scores. Your kids will be smarter!
2. Music Lessons teach kids how to Accomplish Goals.
Setting goals is crucial to making progress in anything that we pursue whether it’s a passion or not. Typically, if we are passionate about something, we pursue that “something” by setting our own goals. Many times others set goals for us including our parents, teachers, bosses, coaches, government, religious leaders or peers. Goal-setting is an important part of day-to-day living, and it is the first step toward achieving a sense of accomplishment. Proficiency on an instrument is a long-term goal achieved over a period of years. In order to accomplish this goal, the music teacher and student must set and accomplish short-term goals that will ultimately lead to long-term achievement. One of the greatest rewards of being a music teacher is to help young students become top-notch musicians and performers over the course of their elementary through high school years. Some students go on to pursue music as a career path. Others go on to pursue other passions. Whatever their pursuits, taking music lessons has taught them how to make progress towards their dreams.
3. Music Lessons develop Self-Discipline in kids.
We all know that anything worth having in this life doesn’t come easy and that with hard work and consistency we can achieve great things. How do we instill the character qualities of self-determination and discipline in our kids who are living in a fast-paced society that has grown accustomed to immediate gratification? Music lessons are a fun and effective way to help a child learn self-discipline. Students find motivation in the music they are learning. However, in order to perform this music well they must practice consistently. As the music teacher helps a student structure weekly practice time, the student is empowered to learn the music through self-discipline. Developing the skill of self-discipline can be adapted to achieve goals in other areas such as academics and sports.
4. Music Lessons help kids become Independent and Self-Sufficient adults.
Many child psychologists agree that a child’s happiness and ability to become an independent and successful adult is greatly dependent on that child’s sense of self-worth and confidence. The qualities of children with high self-esteem include:
- tackling new challenges
- being independent and true to themselves
- taking responsibility for their decisions and actions
- having confidence in themselves and taking pride in their abilities
These characteristics can be developed with consistent music lessons throughout the childhood and adolescent years. New challenges are tackled regularly in music lessons by learning a new piece or song, learning a new technique or progressing to a higher skill level. As students make progress in learning a musical instrument, they are able to choose the music they love to perform – classical, pop, country, etc. Being true to yourself is recognizing what you love most and pursuing it. The decision to practice or not practice can have its consequences, and students must structure their practice for progress. Seeing students perform in front of an audience is a highlight for teachers, parents, family and friends. Students experience a great sense of accomplishment after a performance.
5. Music Lessons promote Self-Expression and Creativity
The world’s greatest leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors have something in common – creativity. This creativity can evolve into the power of invention. Think of Benjamin Franklin and his numerous inventions that were born from his creativity in discovering improvements to the way things worked. Making music naturally elicits self-expression and creativity, and the ability for students to express themselves with confidence and creativity opens up incredible doors of opportunity. As you think about which extracurricular activities to choose for your kids, consider the true benefits of your investment. We all want our children to live life to the fullest and to experience great happiness as they follow their dreams. Sometimes, they need a little guidance from us. We invest in our kids’ futures by giving them opportunities such as music lessons. Taking music lessons cultivates qualities that lead to lifetime success. Make learning a music instrument a priority in your home and encourage your kids every step of the way. Allison J Boyd, Music Therapist – Board Certified President of Metro Music Makers, Inc. www.metromusicmakers.com www.facebook.com/metromusicmakers www.twitter.com/metromusicmaker