Can studying music make kids smarter? Recent research shows that studying music contributes to brain development. Students who study music tend to have higher grades and SAT scores, and receive more academic honors and awards than non-music students. Participating in music provides many other long-term benefits, as well–emotional, physical and social.
For young children, music helps build language skills and coordination, and boosts self-confidence. For older kids and teenagers, participation in a chorus, band or orchestra provides an emotional outlet, and enhances creativity and social skills. Participating in music provides a lot of the same benefits as sports: being part of a team, improved discipline and self-esteem, and better health.
Kids who study music tend to be high achievers who stay out of trouble–the kind of peer group most parents hope their children will have. Educators notice that high school students in band, chorus or orchestra tend to choose their friends from those groups–a trend that continues through college.
Singing is a great way for kids to get started in music. Singing:
- Improves lung development, posture, muscle control and oxygen flow to the brain
- Develops a better speaking voice, improved vocabulary and grammar, and clearer articulation and presence when speaking in public
- Releases endorphins that relieve depression and anxiety, replacing them with feelings of energy and happiness
- Can start at any age.
When should a child start music lessons? It’s never too early to start singing. Second grade is a good time to start piano or a string instrument. Most students aren’t physically ready to take on a brass or woodwind instrument until fourth or fifth grade. Talk to the prospective music teacher to help determine if your child is ready for lessons. If your school has a band, orchestra or chorus, encourage your kids to participate. And be sure to attend every concert!
Whether or not your kids grow up to be professional musicians, music is a social and artistic activity that they can continue to enjoy for the rest of their lives.