Seven ways studying music benefits children

Aug 2018
"Learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adults."

While not all schools are able to offer advanced music classes, the basic study of music is part of the national curriculum. It's widely agreed by experts that consistent music education helps children to develop a wide spectrum of skills and can improve a child's memory, as well as other skills ranging from literacy to mathematics. Lutz Jancke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, found that "learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adults."

These effects can be attributed to the skills required for musical performance, as playing an instrument requires an individual to focus and improve on core skills; a method that can be applied to children’s other school subjects. The child must learn discipline, and perseverance, as well as focus and motivation; all key skills essential to effective study. Such expression of creativity can also result in children becoming better communicators as they mature.

Professor Nadia Lavoie at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Education states that: "Music is an effective way to canonize and express the emotions of an individual because it mobilizes the primary emotions. That can be a good component in the social world, especially since it can help children develop confidence in themselves." This is similar to Ofsted’s triennial report on music education (2012) that stated, “good quality music education contributes considerable musical and non-musical benefits to pupils, parents and wider communities."

These are some of the fantastic benefits of studying music:

Boosting concentration

Learning a musical instrument requires a child to focus on a particular activity over an extended period of time. Developing their concentration in this way can have a positive impact on a child's focus across other subjects too.

Developing co-ordination

Playing a musical instrument on a regular basis will also improve a child's hand-eye co-ordination as they develop their motor skills. Playing sports and craft hobbies will also develop these skills in a similar manner.

Increasing patience

Learning to play an instrument requires patience and perseverance. Additionally, mastering how to play their instrument of choice will prepare children for overcoming challenges and striving towards a goal.

Confidence to perform

As children begin to master playing a musical instrument, they may have to perform to a wide variety of audiences from their music teacher to parents and pupils. This will help children feel confident when presenting work in other contexts both in school and at home.

Disciplined attitude towards learning

Children who play an instrument will have to attend regular music lessons, practice at regular intervals and prepare for music exams at a variety of levels. All these disciplines can help children to deal with similar challenges in their daily school life.

The opportunity for self-expression

The Arts present the perfect medium for children to express themselves. Children will also have the opportunity to make choices about the type of instruments they play, which will help to give them some autonomy over their learning.

Developing the individual strengths of children

Children who may struggle in more academic subjects may find that they are able to come into their own once they start playing a musical instrument. Similarly, those who are more academic may be challenged by learning to compose their own musical pieces and working towards achieving higher grades in musical exams.