Music in Schools

Growing YearsChildren benefit from music in schools. There is a compelling amount of research connecting music to higher order brain function, among other positive outcomes, as outlined below. With this in mind, you may want to lobby for more music in your child’s school. It is equally important to access programs that are now in place, such as band and chorus.

- In order to fully reap the cognitive benefits of a music class, children must be actively engaged in the music.

- Music exposure during early development helps children learn the sounds and meanings of words.

- Music education equips students to be creative.

- Dancing to music builds motor skills and self-expression.

- Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills, regardless of socioeconomic status, and score higher on reading and spelling tests.

- Attendance is higher in schools that have music programs.

- Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, better study habits and self-esteem, stay in school, and pursue further education.

- Students in schools with quality music education programs, score higher on standardized tests, in English and Mathematics, and tests of general and spatial cognitive development (abilities that form the basis for performance in math and engineering), regardless of socioeconomic levels.

- Children who had extra-curricular music classes, developed higher a verbal IQ, and visual abilities. Musically trained children performed better in a memory test that is correlated with general intelligence skills such as literacy, verbal memory, visuospatial processing, mathematics, and IQ.

- Young children who take keyboard lessons have greater abstract reasoning abilities than their peers.

- Learning a musical language has benefits similar to those evident in bilingual children. Both are auditory communication systems.

- Listening skills, closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory are stronger in musically-trained children. Children with learning disabilities or dyslexia who tend to lose focus with more noise could benefit greatly from music lessons.

- Music and math are connected. By understanding beat, rhythm, and scales, children are learning how to divide, create fractions, and recognize patterns.

- Researchers have found neural firing patterns to suggest that music may hold the key to higher brain function, enhancing children’s executive function (the brains’ ability to plan, organize, strategize and solve problems).

- 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

- Music helps strengthen memory skills.

- Group classes require peer interaction and communication, which encourage teamwork, as children must collaborate to create a musical piece.

- Playing an instrument teaches kids to persevere through hours, months, and sometimes years of practice before they reach specific goals, such as performing with a band or memorizing a solo piece

- Children who take music get along better with classmates and have fewer discipline problems and get into their preferred colleges.

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