Music is the only method of learning that exercises both sides of the brain.
Music researchers are finding correlations between music making and some of the deepest workings of the human brain.
Research has linked active music making with increased language discrimination and development, math ability, improved school grades, better-adjusted social behavior, and improvements in "spatial-temporal reasoning," - a cornerstone for problem solving.
What parents should know:
- Kids are ready to begin making music even earlier than you may think. Before then, there are benefits to just listening. Hearing music stimulates the mind, improves the mood and brings people together.
- High school music students score higher on SATs in both verbal and math than their peers. In 2001, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework/experience in the arts. Source: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001.
- A study at theUniversity of California at Irvine demonstrated that young kids who participated in music instruction showed dramatic enhancements in abstract reasoning skills. In fact, researchers have found neural firing patterns that suggest that music may hold the key to higher brain function.
- Research at McGill University in Montreal,Canada showed that grade-school kids who took music lessons scored higher on tests of general and spatial cognitive development, the abilities that form the basis for performance in math and engineering.
- The world's top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan stand atop worldwide science achievement and have strong commitment to music education. All three countries have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades. The centrality of music education to learning in the top-ranked countries seems to contradict the United States' focus on math, science, vocabulary, and technology.
Source: 1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test
- Kids who make music have been shown to get along better with classmates and have fewer discipline problems. More of them get into their preferred colleges, too.
- Playing a musical instrument strengthens eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills, and kids who study an instrument learn a lot about discipline, dedication and the rewards of hard work.