The benefits of music education are immense and highly beneficial to students. Music positively impacts a child’s academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity that is crucial to a child’s development. Music education catapults a child’s learning to new heights, and because of this, it should always be considered a pivotal part of a child’s educational process.
Music Education and Its Impact on Student Learning
Music education improves and develops language skills in children. Music stimulates the brain, and with its varied sounds and lyrics, students are exposed to a large amount of vocabulary in a short amount of time. Music also provides exposure to other languages, which creates a foundation for the student’s ability to understand and communicate in a different language.
Music is a vehicle for excellent memory skills. Have you ever listened to a song for the first time in a long time and still remember the lyrics? Even individuals who are not musicians experience this phenomenon. Through catchy melodies and a variety of sounds, music has a way of “sticking” with us and is a powerful tool for learning when used appropriately — just think of singing the ‘A, B, Cs’ or ‘The State Capitols’ song.
On the flip side, students also increase their mental capabilities in multiple ways when participating in music education. As stated before, music fosters memorization skills. In addition to song lyrics, students must memorize all aspects of music when preparing for a performance. Students must recall rhythms, pitches, dynamics, and several other elements all at once. Students can then transfer those memory skills to the academic classroom and employ those skills in their studies.
Here are 10 benefits of music education that highlight why it should be an integral part of students’ lives—whether inside or outside of school.
1. Language skills-Learning a musical instrument also improves how the brain understands human language, which can help students learn a second language.
2. Improved test scores – Studies have shown that students who are involved with a high-quality music education program in school perform better on tests than students who don’t engage in music.
3. Self-esteem – Music allows students to try something new and develop confidence as they master singing or playing an instrument. When students are working towards a common goal, they appreciate that their ‘voice’ and interests are heard and understood by others.
4. Listening skills – Music involves listening to yourself and to the rest of the ensemble. Musicians need to hear tempos, dynamics, tuning, and harmonies. This helps auditory development in the brain.
5. Math skills – Reading music includes learning quarter, half, and whole notes, which essentially fractions are. As Getting Smart explains, “When a music pupil has spent time learning about rhythm, he has learned to count. He is not counting numbers, per se, but he is most certainly using logic to count out the rhythms and bars, and working his way methodically through the piece. Many musical concepts have mathematical counterparts.”
6. Making the brain work harder – Research shows that the brain of a musician works differently than a non-musician.
7. Relieving stress – We all know that listening to a favorite artist or song can lift a mood and relax us. The same goes for creating music. It gives kids a great release, allowing them to immerse themselves in something that’s fulfilling and calming. I know that no matter how stressed I was in school, I would always come out happy and relaxed after choir practice.
8. Creativity – Music certainly nurtures kids’ creative side. This can have an impact on their futures.
9. Helping special needs children – Music can have a powerful impact on kids with special needs. It helps them find a way to communicate and open up, which they may struggle with otherwise. For this reason, and despite cuts to music programs, schools are increasingly implementing music therapy after-school programs to benefit students with disabilities.
Social Benefits of Music Education
The mental benefits of music education are extremely advantageous to students in schools; however, the social benefits are just as wonderful! Music education requires teamwork and collaboration. While playing instruments together, students develop listening skills. They must listen to others to better gauge volume levels, the implementation of dynamics, and so much more. Teamwork and collaboration are also required when completing simple musical tasks such as rhythmic and melodic notation. Students quickly learn to value the opinions and ideas of others and how to efficiently combine those thoughts to complete the task at hand.
Other Benefits of Music Education
Music education promotes improved coordination, specifically hand-eye coordination. Musicians must multitask! They must do multiple things all at once, all of which improve coordination and further develops the brain. Student musicians must read music, interpret it, and physically initiate the music through the playing of their instrument. These steps are repeated continuously throughout any performance of a piece of music, and even the youngest learners slowly develop their coordination skills through continued music practice.