One of the most common extramural activities that parents can enroll their child into is music lessons. Whether you choose to make your kid learn a musical instrument or just expose him to the many forms and types of music, there’s no denying that the universal language is one that can positively affect people, young or old.
But if you’re still undecided, just know that your child could be missing out on the many benefits that music can bring.
1. It can facilitate learning and enrichment of other subjects and skills
According to Mary Luehrisen, Executive Director of the non-profit National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, making music has been found to assist in the formal learning of other subjects and enhancement of skills that are essential to the children. “A music-rich experience is really bringing a serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” Leuhrisen said.
As it involves more than one action, making music can also tap into a child’s multiple skill sets simultaneously, such as when they play an instrument using fingers while singing and listening to the sound.
2. It can help build coordination
For toddlers, listening to music can encourage them to move to the rhythm and improve their fine and gross motor skills. Movements like jumping can even help with their muscle, strength, and balance development.
3. It can foster language and literacy development and communication skills
Music education can enhance a child’s natural abilities to decode sounds and words. According to the Children’s Music Workshop, this effect can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies indicate that musical training physically develops the part of portion in the left side of the brain involved with processing language and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways,” the group claims.
Dr. Kyle Pruett of the child psychiatry department of Yale School of Medicine also found that it can strengthen the capacity to be verbally competent, adding, “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music.” Music can also develop the communication skills of a person, including listening, reading, and writing.
4. It can increase Intelligence Quotient
Research by the University of Toronto, Mississauga found an increase in the IQs of 6-year-olds who took weekly voice and piano lessons for nine months. Drama lessons were also provided to another group of kids, and compared to this group (who developed their social behavior instead), the children who took music lessons on, saw a higher increase of IQ points with an average of three points.
5. It can improve brain power
A musician’s mind works differently than that of a non-musician, even as a young kid. “Children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than those who are not. Playing a musical instrument uses more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen from the Early Childhood Music Department of Peabody Preparatory at The Johns Hopkins University.
Another study by Ellen Winner, a psychology professor at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School, established that students who receive music instructions had improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks, with brain imaging showing changes to the brain networks associated with such capabilities.
To be clear, music alone won’t make your kid smart. The primary reason to educate your child on music is not to make him a genius, but to make him/her appreciate every aspect of it. They will also learn to respect the process of being musically educated, which may not be easy and should be valuable on its own merit.
By: Andrea Harper
Andrea Harper works as a Marketing and Events Director at Fun Kids Guide, a site that lists down fun things to do with kids in Melbourne. Passionate about teaching kids with good habits, she spends most of her time writing about tips and ideas for parents to have the best childhood experience with their children.