With the academic pressure on students today, the arts often take a backseat to math, reading, and other main subjects. However, cutting out music may actually harm your child. Years of research support the importance of music to children’s development – and academic success. The following are just a few ways that music lessons benefit children!
1. Improve academics. In addition to positively impacting academic performance, learning music can teach a number of valuable skills. Reading music, learning notes, and following a beat can help children better understand fractions and recognize patterns. Learning and repeating musical pieces can also help improve both short and long term memory.
2. Build coordination. Playing an instrument may not be as physical as many sports, but it certainly requires coordination and physical strength. In addition to learning fine motor skills, hand and finger positions, or left and right hands moving at the same time—large, heavy, or cumbersome instruments also require effort to position and hold. Active instruments such as percussion that require moving hands, arms, legs, and feet together are ideal for active or high energy kids who may not be able to sit still with other instruments.
3. Cultivate social skills. Taking a class or playing as part of an ensemble requires students to work together, teaching them valuable social skills, particularly how their actions impact others. Playing too loud, too soft, too fast, or too slow can all impact how a piece sounds. When playing with others, students can learn how to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.
4. Learn discipline. Learning a musical instrument doesn’t happen overnight; it takes years of practice and patience to master a new skill. This means students must set aside time each day for lessons, classes, performances, and plenty of practice. Violin students, for example, will spend their first lessons learning how to hold the violin, position the bow, and place their feet – all before they even begin playing the instrument itself. This teaches discipline, delayed gratification, and self-control as students work to improve.
5. Boost self-esteem. Working hard towards a goal, succeeding at a new skill, and receiving positive feedback are all good ways to build a child’s self-esteem. For shy children or those who do not enjoy being the center of attention, performing as part of a group can help them get over their fear of being in the limelight.