3 Smart Reasons to Have Your Child Play a Musical Instrument
There are a variety of smart reasons for everyone to learn music, but this is especially true for children. Learning to read music and perform on an instrument has an impact on a child in every dimension of life, from coordination to social skills, from good posture to improved memory and recall. Music helps with stress, with difficult emotions, with problems sleeping, and even with the immune system. It encourages self-expression and self-confidence. Learning music benefits children in three essential ways.
When learning a musical instrument, a child is taught how to make, store, and call back memories in a more effective manner. In fact, playing a musical instrument is like giving the brain a total workout. Academic skills are one aspect of the mental benefits received when a child learns an instrument. Math and music are highly intertwined; children learn to understand scales and arpeggios, rhythms, and beats, teaching them to recognize patterns, create fractions, and divide. When children get older and begin memorizing their musical pieces and exercises, their short- and long-term memories are called upon. Memory skills that are thus improved can be used across all the academic subjects. Learning music also helps improve the skills of reading and comprehension. When learning reading, children need to have a memory that works well, the capacity for disambiguating speech sounds, and connecting sounds to meaning. Each of these qualities is strengthened by active engagement with the playing of a musical instrument. Researchers continue to report associations between children who are participating in music classes and higher grades, better SAT scores, and raised cognitive skills. The brain is kept sharp by playing music.
Different musical instruments offer different physical benefits, but all of them offer improved coordination because performing on a musical instrument requires advanced speed work from the brain. The notes on the page are converted within the brain to those physical motions necessary to play the instrument. Children who play musical instruments show improved hand-eye coordination compared to those who are not thus engaged. Percussion instruments help children work on motor skills as well as coordination, requiring movement from the feet, arms, and hands. Keyboard and string instruments require differing actions from the left and right hands at the same time, rather like rubbing your belly and patting your head simultaneously. Musical instruments help develop ambidexterity. Wind instruments work on improved lung capacity and encourage proper breathing as well as requiring the coordination of hand motions. Precise use of the diaphragm and lungs can help in other physical areas of life. Playing an instrument is often, in itself, a workout. Children are using back and arm muscles at the very least. Posture is also important in music lessons and outside of them. Music teachers emphasize good posture for proper muscle and lung use.
Children who learn musical instruments enjoy a number of psychological benefits as well. Learning an instrument encourages stronger self-confidence and self-esteem. Playing music alleviates stress. It can help with depression and insomnia as well. Playing music acts as an emotional outlet and can be a form of soothing the child in situations that are tough to handle, as well as providing a healthy distraction from stressors. There is a strong sense of achievement in putting work into mastering a musical piece and finally being able to perform it adeptly. This improves confidence across all areas of life, not just within the realm of music classes, lessons, practice, or performances. Also, children make new friends more easily when they become involved in music. Playing in a band or orchestra is a great way to come together with other people who share the same interests and passions. Learning to play a musical instrument also teaches perseverance. It requires time and patience and teaches the pursuit of goals both in the short term and the long term.
Whether physical, mental, or psychological, the benefits to children of learning to play an instrument are clear. With research revealing connections between scholastic achievement and successful adulthoods after music lessons as children, the advantages are many and powerful.