The benefits of music education have been documented since long ago, by great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. More recently, neuroscientific research has supported these historical claims with evidence-based studies. Essentially, it is thought that the study of music can have a profound impact on fine motor development, and aid literacy and numeracy proficiency.
We unpack 10 benefits of music education, highlighting the many ways learning music can enhance your child’s overall education journey. Learning music will:
1. Provide learning and listening skills
Learning to play an instrument requires active listening. Your child learns how to identify an incorrect note, how to tune their instrument and how to identify the correct pitch. When playing in a band they must listen and follow the music to understand when they need to play, how loudly or softly to play, and keep time with the rest of the band. Research has shown that music has a significant impact on learning and intelligence and the younger a child is when they start, the greater the benefit.
2. Enhance concentration and co-ordination skills
The process of playing an instrument improves brain neuroplasticity, by firing more neurons across the brain than any other activity. Music engages both sides of the brain and your child must concentrate on doing several things simultaneously: reading the music; creating the right sounds with their instrument; listening to the sounds created; following the music; keeping tempo; listening to other musicians; and paying attention to the conductor’s instructions. All of these things require a high level of coordination and concentration.
3. Reduce the impact of stress
Research shows that singing, listening to, or playing music can lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure, leading to a reduction in the stress hormone, cortisol. It can also provide a creative outlet in contrast to daily academic study, giving your child the opportunity to exercise a different part of his or her brain.
4. Foster creativity and experimentation
Playing music affects your child’s cognitive, mental, and emotional abilities – the brain is stimulated to work differently which helps with creativity. Playing music promotes the expression of feelings and gives your child the opportunity to create something unique by experimenting with music, playing in different ways, or creating their own music.
5. Form self-discipline and time management skills
Learning a musical instrument or singing, requires your child to be self-disciplined enough to practise regularly, and make a commitment to set aside time for practice and conquering challenging pieces of music. Music teaches your child organisational skills by compelling them to structure their time effectively in order to fit music practice in amongst other activities which compete for their attention.
6. Create social networks and develop life skills
By being involved in music children will extend their circle of friends beyond the classroom or playground. If they are in a band or choir, they learn to work as a team and communicate, they experience a sense of responsibility to their band or choir members, and they can even develop leadership qualities – all important life skills. Working with others towards a common goal encourages connections, where friendships are often forged for life.
7. Develop perseverance and patience
Learning to play an instrument is not an easy task and is not a pursuit of instant gratification. Your child must accept that in order to master a piece of music he will need put in the time to practise which requires patience. Your child will need to challenge himself by persevering with difficult pieces of music long enough to master them. Early on, as your child grasps the concepts of music reading and playing simple pieces, motivation will be high, but as learning continues, progress may appear to plateau, and perseverance truly comes into play.
8. Improve the use of the respiratory system
This benefit applies to singers and students of woodwind and brass instruments. Children are taught how to moderate their breathing, maximise their breaths and use air flow to control the sounds produced by their voice or instrument. It also teaches music students how to control their nerves during a performance, which can affect breathing.
9. Build self-esteem and confidence
There is nothing like the gratification of mastering a task to build confidence and self-esteem. By persevering and dedicating time to practice, your child will master different levels in their music education which will bring satisfaction and a sense of achievement, all important factors in building self-esteem. Part of the purpose of learning to play an instrument is to perform for others. Music can assist your child to build confidence when performing, and reap the benefits of hearing the audience’s appreciation of their performance.
10. Stimulate happiness
Most people would agree that listening to music has a powerful effect on our emotions and most of us find it uplifting. Research has shown that even sad music can lift our mood. Imagine then the sense of happiness a child experiences as a result of being able to alter people’s moods through the music he performs – it is a very rewarding experience. Similarly, the simple act of mastering a piece of music creates a sense of achievement and ultimately, happiness.
Recognising the strong links between music and academic performance, Trinity offers a comprehensive music programme to students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12. With music being an essential element of Trinity’s curriculum, most boys at some stage, will learn a musical instrument and engage in group musical activity; such as choir, orchestra, band or ensemble, or a musical stage production.
Trinity’s Music Department has one of the most dynamic and impressive performance programmes in Australia and, in terms of student participation, is one of the most comprehensive. Commitment of students and staff to achieving excellence in performance, has earned them an impressive reputation.
To find out why we are one of Sydney’s leading schools for boys and to learn more about the Trinity difference and our exceptional music programme, download our Creative Arts Booklet.