The Benefits of Learning Music
My sister and I both grew up learning music. First, we learned to play the piano with a private teacher. In school, we each took on different instruments. I learned the flute, and my sister learned the violin and saxophone. I played the flute from 4th to 12th grade and sang in choir. My sister still plays the violin now as she’s starting her senior year of high school, and also sings in choir.
Not only did we make great memories and friends in the band, orchestra, and choir, but we also gained the mental benefits of playing music. For years, I have been hearing about how beneficial it is for children to study music. Here are some of the main benefits gained from learning music.
In general, most studies state that being involved with music can result in higher grades. Taking a closer look, however, can reveal the more specific ways music can help a child in school.
According to parents.com, the study of music might be closely associated with math by most people because of the music student’s exposure to things like “beat, rhythm, and scales” which teach children to “divide, create fractions, and recognize patterns.”
Music can also help children develop their language and reasoning skills, according to childrensmusicworkshop.com, by stimulating the left side of the brain, which handles language processing. The memorization involved with learning music can also benefit the child’s short-term and long-term memory, according to parents.com
In my experience, I have seen music be a tool to better reading comprehension, patience, and focus in children. It has also led to increased problem-solving skills. Childrensmusicworkshop.com states that this is because music students “learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions.”
As I mentioned, my sister and I have met some wonderful friends through our involvement in music. Being in a band, orchestra, or choir is similar to being on a sports team as far as teamwork and cooperation go. Every member of the group is required to try their best for the group to achieve its goal.
Much like a sports team, most music groups also have a healthy dose of competition. Whether you are auditioning for a solo or going through chair auditions, each member is encouraged to develop their personal skills. But the welfare of the group remains the most important factor, and students are encouraged to solve any disputes that may occur.
Parents.com points out the discipline and patience required of a music student while learning their instrument. As I was learning the flute and the piano, I remember growing tired of the never ending scales and finger positioning I had to learn to play a note and song correctly. The practice involved with learning the instrument will train the child to be persistent to achieve their goals.
Another way music teaches patience is through the music itself. Most of the time, in a song, you are not constantly playing or singing. Rests in the music give other instruments and voice parts a chance to be showcased while those who are resting patiently wait to rejoin. During a rest, the instruments and voice parts that are not playing or singing must be counting carefully to make sure they reenter the song at the correct time. This act of resting and counting creates the patience and discipline children will need throughout their lives.
Childrensmusicworkshop.com mentions that “in music, a mistake is a mistake.” When you play the wrong note or sing at the wrong time, there is no avoiding the fact that you were wrong. Instead of dodging the blame, music students have no choice but to take responsibility for their mistakes. Not only will they be responsible for their error, but they will also be responsible for fixing the error in the future. For some problems, a quick adjustment or simply paying more attention can do the trick. For others, outside practice will be required.
Practicing at home is the equivalent of studying for music and brings more individual responsibility to a music student. It allows the student to take as much time as they need to learn a song as well as possible, and to review the fundamentals by doing scales. I will be the first to admit that I had a horrible habit of not practicing. I love music, and I enjoyed the songs we played and sang. But I could not bring myself to practice, especially as I got older. Of course, if I had, I could have improved my musical skills greatly, so learn from my example and encourage your kids to practice.
The benefits of music are so numerous, they cannot all be listed. Still, they are so vast, that countless studies have been done to determine how music positively impacts those who study it. For me, the greatest benefits of studying music were the amazing experiences I had and the splendid friendships I developed. I was certainly not a prodigy or the most talented student the world has ever seen, but music impacted my life in ways I am still discovering today.