Music is such a big part of daily life that most of us don’t realize how often we’re surrounded by it. Whether it’s the soundtrack accompanying our favorite Netflix show, or the music that shapes places like grocery stores and shopping malls, music is an integral part of human life around the planet, and it’s been that way for thousands of years.
But for how widespread and important it is in the lives of so many, it’s often seen as one of life’s frivolous extras instead of an invaluable asset. Yes, music is important and popular for the reasons we’re all familiar with, but it also makes us better in some surprising ways. From improving language and motor skills in children, to promoting significant memory improvement in aging adults, music education is scientifically proven to improve our lives profoundly and enduringly.
This article will explore how the benefits from music impact us socially, intellectually, and emotionally. We’ll look at everything from how music enriches and informs our personal lives through listening, to what happens when students of every age learn how to play an instrument.
One of Life’s Most Impactful Artforms
The most important moments in life are marked by music. From the songs played at weddings to the mournful sound of “Taps” solemnly played at funerals, music accompanies our lives so seamlessly that we often fail to recognize it’s there at all. It brings disparate people together in times of celebration, comforts us in times of need, and ushers in social change. Whether it’s protest music or sappy breakup songs, we lean on music to help us interpret the world and our place within it.
Music is a creative force that improves a person’s life regardless whether they know how it’s made or where it comes from, but those who learn how to perform and create music are rewarded with endless positive benefits that can last a lifetime. As you’ll soon see, the act of learning music is one of the best ways to enrich your life or the lives of your children.
How Music Education Benefits Students, Performers, and Creators
Whether it’s your children taking music classes for the first time or adults dusting off their instruments to play their favorite songs for the first time in years, music remarkably benefits learners, performers, and creators. When people of all ages and walks of life take the time to be musical, incredible things happen.
When it comes to children learning an instrument for the first time or doing something as simple as learning rhythm notation by clapping, science shows that kids develop cognitively and socially in ways that non-musical children don’t. The benefits for children who learn music include:
- Task Completion – 85% of parents with children in music lessons discovered their kids had a greater ability to finish tasks.
- Enhanced Long Term Temporal and Spatial Skills – Numerous scientific studies have concluded that playing musical instruments improved problem solving and organizational skills in children.
- Ability to Self-Monitor – 71% of parents with children in music lessons found their kids had a greater ability to self-monitor screen time.
- Improvement In Language – An MIT study showed that young students who took piano lessons were able to better differentiate sounds and spoken words compared to children who didn’t. Other studies have shown similar conclusions.
- Higher Test Scores – The correlation between music education and boosted test scores in children is well documented.
- Stronger Cognitive Functioning and Brain Development – According to a study published in Science Daily, structured music instruction “significantly enhances children’s cognitive abilities (including language-based reasoning, short term memory planning, and inhibition) leading to improved academic performance.”
- Develop Social and Emotional Skills – Musical training boosts the social and emotional development of children according to many studies. Research has found the social and emotional benefits from music range from higher self–esteem to greater numbers of young musicians getting involved in charity work than their non-musical counterparts.
- An Outlet for Creative Expression – Creativity strengthens the life of kids in many ways, and music provides a reliable, endlessly-fascinating outlet.
These are just a few of the many positive impacts that occur when children study music. If you’re a parent invested in improving all aspects of your children’s life, music is one of the best ways to do it. From young children to high school students, music makes the lives of kids richer and more promising.
Benefits for Adults Who Study and Perform Music
While music education benefits children in many ways, it’s proven to powerfully enhance the lives of adults as well. From positive health impacts to an increase in emotional processing, kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from music education. Here are some of the benefits for adults.
- Enhances Memory – Engaging with music helps adults keep their memories strong and active, whether it’s remembering a chord shape on a guitar or feeling nostalgic while performing a song you first heard in high school. Musicians are also found to have superior “working memory” compared to non-musicians.
- Retain Awareness and Prediction Skills – A Stanford University study showed that music engages the same areas of the brain responsible for allowing someone to pay attention and make predictions.
- Boost Creativity – Many adults lose interest in creative expression as they age, and music is a chance to reverse that trend. Whether you’re in a neighborhood cover band or take music lessons simply for the fun of it, you’ll improve your creative expression through music.
- Helps Process Emotions – Simple musical exercises like performing on hand drums have been proven to help veterans to control and express their emotions and better connect with one another.
- Allows Adults to Be Part of a Community – Loneliness is an issue plaguing millions of adults around the world today, and many sufferers are younger than you might think. Music is a chance for people of all ages to come together, socialize, and create something special and enduring.
How to Get Started Learning Music
The best time to learn music is when we’re young, but it’s never too late to get started! For young children, school music programs are a huge benefit, but the absolute best way to establish a lifelong interest in music is by taking private or group lessons. Working with a passionate and experienced music teacher will give you the skills you need to unlock all the incredible benefits that learning music has to offer. The more chances we give ourselves and our kids, to explore music, the more likely we are to stick with it.
Tips for Sticking with Music Education
- Build a regular practice schedule and stick with it
- Focus on keeping things fun and engaging
- Balance practice time with mastering essentials while also learning fun and familiar music
- Purchase or rent a well-built instrument that’s in a good condition
If you’re looking for extraordinary music instruction, our friends at the Starling School of Performing Arts specializes in helping people of all ages and musical interests succeed in music.
Music training is proven to improve the quality of our lives, but it only works if we fully engage and give it our all. Working with a trained music instructor can motivate you to do your best and help you get all the positive impacts music education has to offer.