Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Whether you were born to be a musician or just love listening to music, studies have shown there are numerous benefits to incorporating music in our daily lives. We have especially seen the importance of learning an instrument at a young age and how it can positively affect growing minds. To put it simply, music can literally change your brain for the better.
Despite music education likely to be the least funded program in American schools, educators around the world agree it should be a part of standard curriculum. And parents agree, too! Here's why:
1. Music makes us smarter
The proof is in the pudding; learning an instrument can highly develop your brain and increase your IQ levels. Compared with children in the control groups, children in the music groups exhibited greater increases in full-scale IQ.
The effect was relatively small, but it generalized across IQ sub tests, index scores, and a standardized measure of academic achievement.
2. Improves our memory
Since learning an instrument requires you to remember notes, rhythm, hand placement, and other critical habits, it naturally expands your working memory capacity. This helps create a high working memory load which prevents fatigue and burnout.
3. Stimulates our brain
When we listen to music, multiple areas of our brain light up and become active. Within a split second, our brain is able to recognize the melody, take the song apart to identify each sound, and put it back together to enjoy it's entirety.
But when we learn an instrument, our brain goes into a fully body workout. Playing a musical instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. And just like your typical workout, these areas begin to strengthen over time with practice.
4. Lowers stress and anxiety levels
If you've been locked inside the house with your child for a week straight (let alone five months), then I think it's safe to assume the both of you have been a little on edge. Release that tension with music!
5. Boosts our mood
On popular streaming services, there are playlists curated to a particular mood. Why? Because music truly has an impact on how we feel. Depending on the rhythm and tempo of the song, music has a powerful affect on our emotions.
In 2013, results of a study done by the Journal of Positive Psychology showed the participants who listened to an upbeat tempo boosted their happiness in just two weeks. Furthermore, we've seen similar results with music therapy that is used to help treat patients with anxiety and depression.
6. Increases engagement at school
You read that right. Because learning an instrument can teach you good habits like discipline and consistency, these habits also trickle into other areas of our life like school, for example.
Might be a good idea to bring this up in the next zoom PTA meeting if your school's music education is underfunded (or even non-existent). Who's more involved now, Karen?
7. Cultivates creativity
Many can assume that making music is a great creative outlet because it's a fun activity. But it goes deeper than that. Learning an instrument requires critical thinking when developing melodies, learning scales, and following rhythm. This requires musicians to be creative when it comes to the twelve standard notes (chromatic scale) and finding new ways to make their own unique music.
8. Instills discipline
This is probably the most obvious benefit from learning an instrument but the hardest to achieve! The only way a student will see results and progress on their musical journey is if they stay dedicated and learn self-discipline.
Although it's easier said than done, daily practice is essential to your child's progress. It can take years to become fluent in their instrument so be sure you're always there to support them when they get frustrated or feel like giving up! This can help them stay on track and eventually apply this discipline to other areas of their life, too.
9. Gives a sense of achievement
Have you ever worked on something for so long or did something that was really difficult despite knowing how difficult it was going to be? If so, why would give an unbearable amount of effort when you could easily chill on your couch and stare at your phone for hours? It's most likely because you knew the reward was more valuable to you than the amount of time you spent working towards your goal.
The same logic applies to learning an instrument. Once a child sees their own progress, it will motivate them to continue working towards the level they wish to be at. There's no greater feeling then finally mastering a song you've spent so much time and dedication on. Also, bragging rights feel pretty good, too.
10. Most likely to succeed
There's a strong correlation between learning an instrument and successful people. That's because learning an instrument, as you've just learned, can provide a multitude of life-changing benefits and transferable skills to help your child succeed. Who wouldn't want the best for their child?