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YOUR CHILD ON MUSIC - THE FACTS

Introducing The Benefits

need photosRespected national organizations and peer-reviewed studies site learning to play an instrument or sing as a significant boost to a child's development. A boost in many areas far beyond the music itself. Math, reading, problem-solving, self-esteem, and social skills are just a few of the measurable improvements. Your child's Brain On Music is an ever expanding sponge!

You will find the trumpeting of scientific facts everywhere. Major studies by serious scientists, doctors, and universities have been published in medical and psychology journals and by major public outlets like Forbes, Time Magazine, The Washington Post, and PBS. Over twenty-years of modern study have left no doubt. Learning to play music effects the physical development of the brain as well as the emotional and fuctional abilities of children and adolescents. Studies show that even when the childhood hobby of playing music is put on hold, the benefits are retained and reach far into adulthood.

Research has also shown that Music education can benefit troubled students, and issues with anxiety, depression, and concentration. Now simply add a sense of well-being, new physical skills and increased self-confidence to the benefits, and you see why so many highly recommend music lessons for kids.


The Top 8 Benefits of Music Lessons

1) First and Foremost:

Safe, Enriching, Fun!
Music contributes to good mental health and gives children a means of self-expression and individuality.

2) Music Makes The Brain Work Harder:

Brain function! Your kid's BRAINZ work harder when challeged by the multi-level stimulation and challeges of learning and performing music. The brain actually registers measurable physical changes. As playing music requires so many different areas of the brain to participate, the benefits manifest themselves across a variety of physical, academic, and emotional disciplines.

3) Improvement In Traditional Academics:

Language, reading skills, mathematics, problem-solving skills, abstract thinking! Studies show better grades and better SAT scores are attributed to kids who study music. Even high-school students!

4) Focus:

Listening skills, memory, discipline, patience. Learning an instrument teaches children about delayed gratification. Learning an instrument takes focus and patience to see and accept small incremental achievements that build to a final goal. Every new song learned, every new skill mastered, reinforces the concept that you can do things you thought were beyond your ability!

5) Social Skills:

Develops self-confidence and collaborative social skills. Learning to memorize musical pieces for performance is a real sense of accomplishment. Playing music with a group of other players is a deep dive into social experience and growth. Playing in a band, an orchestra, or even a songwriter duo, teaches students to work as a team toward a common goal. This collaborate skill of commitment and responsibility translates well into the real world!

6) Self Esteem:

Performing music teaches kids a little bravery is required. They learn that taking a little risk to put yourself out there can be rewarding. They garner experience dealing with small doses of anxiety and come to the conclusion it was a lot more fun to be involved in the action than to sit by and only watch. A lesson that will serve them many times over as they mature!

7) Physical Skills:

Develops motor and coordination skills that can be helpful in other athletic and artistic pursuits. The drummers get a pretty decent workout too!

8) Creativity:

Research found a marked difference in inter-hemispheric communication (between the right and left brain) in individuals with musical training versus those without musical training. Scientists involved in this area of study believe the greater connectivity between brain regions may help foster increased creativity.

"The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception." Albert Einstein

 


A Taste Of Science

As published in the Journal of Neuroscience, research illustrated direct evidence that music training has a biological effect on developing children. Here is what a few scientists in this discipline have discovered.

Dr. Sylvain Moreno, Lead Scientist, Centre for Brain Fitness, Rotman Research Institute. "Our data have confirmed a rapid transfer of cognitive benefits in young children after only 20 days of music training. The strength of this effect in almost all of the children was remarkable."

"Musical training impacts a set of processes in the brain that are related to a whole host of other activities, from intelligence and reading to the ability to focus and do well in school. We started this way because there is a link between music and language. They're both auditory activities and they share the same acoustic parameters. So we studied reading and we have shown that musical training improves reading. We looked at verbal intelligence and there was an absolute trend of improvement. These were some of the positive intellectual benefits that we measured."

"It was really astonishing to see how quickly the brain changed in response to musical training. We provided musical training to young children, and within 20 days we would see a shift in a number of cognitive areas. We started with one simple question: "Is musical training beneficial?" and the answer that we got was a resounding "YES." Musical training has a positive impact on a set of core neural processes that are related to focus, intelligence, reading, academics and more."

When asked how conclusive his findings were, Dr. Moreno stated; "The standard for a typical scientific study is 60 to 70%. That is, we would have to show that musical training impacts this percentage of the participants. Our research showed that musical training impacted over 90% of the children we studied. We asked three different people to reanalyze our data to confirm our findings."

As explained to TIME magazine, Nina Kraus, Director of Northwestern Universty's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory stated "It turns out that playing a musical instrument is important." Differentiating her group's findings from the now debunked myth that just listening to certain types of music improves intelligence, the so-called "Mozart effect." "We don't see these kinds of biological changes in people who are just listening to music, who are not playing an instrument," said Kraus. "I like to give the analogy that you're not going to become physically fit just by watching sports." It's important to engage with the sound in order to reap the benefits and see changes in the central nervous system."

The most recent science has indicated that taking music lessons may not only make your kids smarter, but also enhance their emotional control, improve their memory and improve their long-term planning.

Researchers at the University of Vermont conducted one of the largest studies to investigate the effects of playing an instrument on brain development. They studied brain scans of 232 healhty children and found that training on an instrument directly correlated to better focus, better anxiety management and more emotional control.

As published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the results documented the thickening of the cortex, which their earlier research had shown is linked to better control of depression, agression and attention issues. The studies lead author, James Hudziak Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, told the Washington Post "What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument, the more it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control."

Your child's brain is really getting a workout that will provide benefits for a lifetime. Research indicates the brain of a musician, even a young one, works differently than that of a nonmusician. "There's some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you're a musician and you're playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain," says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years.

Numerous studies available show children who play an instrument, score higher on both standard and spatial cognitive development tests alike. There are also findings that show kids who play piano, in particular, scored higher in math, especially on problems dealing with ratios and fractions.

One particular study conducted by Dr. Frances Rauscher - psychologist at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and Gordon Shaw - physicist at the University of California at Irvine, tested preschoolers who received piano instruction. They found that preschoolers who received piano lessons scored 34% higher than their nonmusical counterparts in tests measuring spatial-temporal reasoning, which is the brain function used to understand math, science and engineering.

How about some simple improvement in school report cards? A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in Math Scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts. Johnson compares the concentration that music training requires to the focus needed to perform well on a standardized test.

Along with better performance results on concentration-based tasks, music training can help with basic memory recall. Dr. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine states, "Formal training in music is also associated with other cognitive strengths such as verbal recall proficiency. People who have had formal musical training tend to be pretty good at remembering verbal information stored in memory."

Musical endeavors require participation from nearly every region of the brain. Does this have any concrete correlation to improvements in IQ? Well t turns out that researchers have linked music lessons with improved IQ and academic performance. In a formal study conducted through the University of Toronto and published in 2004, researchers compared the IQ performance of children in music lessons with those in drama lessons or no extra lessons at all. IQ was measured before and after the lessons.

The students in the music group showed greater increases in full-scale IQ scores than those in either of the other groups. "IQ scores are widely accepted as standardized predictors of academic achievement. Recent studies have also indicated that individuals who are musically trained show better working memory abilities than those who are not. Working memory is the type of memory that allows us to remember things even while our minds are busy with other matters - crucial for such essential tasks as mental arithmetic and reading comprehension. Much has been written about the importance of developing focus or self-discipline in children as preparation for success in life. Current research shows this is one of the key outcomes of music instruction. Learning to play an instrument or sing requires significant levels of attention and concentration. There is evidence that children who take music lessons have greater abilities to focus their attention. Music training seems to be a very active form of mental training that increases childrens' cognitive capacities, enabling them to perform better in many other aspects of their life." E. Glenn Schellenberg, Music Lessons Enhance IQ - Psychological Science

Music can improve a child's abilities in learning and other nonmusic tasks, but it's important to understand that music does not make one smarter. Dr. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry,Yale School of Medicine explains, "the many intrinsic benefits to music education include being disciplined, learning a skill, being part of the music world, managing performance, being part of something you can be proud of, and even struggling with a less than perfect teacher."

"It's important not to oversell how smart music can make you," Pruett says. "Music makes your kid interesting and happy, and smart will come later. It enriches his or her appetite for things that bring you pleasure and for the friends you meet. "

"There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don't understand, but it's individual. Music is for music's sake," John Hopkins University's Dr. Eric Rasmussen says. "The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music," he adds. "Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced."

Let's not forget there is still the life-long joy of playing the music you love and sharing it with everyone in your life. Playing music is also a personalized hand written invitation that opens the door to new friends, new places and ne experience!

I'll give the final word to the Royal Conservatory of Music. "We know that from early childhood through to retirement years, whether involved in recreational music making or training for a professional career, people who are engaged in music study are sharpening their cognitive skills and developing social connections.

Over the past two decades, several large-scale studies have found that music students outperform academically compared to other students, often by large margins. Music students tend to be more engaged and motivated in their studies, and more likely to win academic awards. Thanks to the groundbreaking research of neuroscientists, we now have a clear scientific explanation for this phenomenon. Music study leads to lasting changes in children's brains, increasing their capacity to perform tasks that require sustained attention and careful listening and reading. Parents can be more confident than ever that an investment in music lessons will deliver lifelong benefits for their child."

Article written and complied by D.A.J.

 


 


 


 

Authors - Researchers - Scientists:

There are over two-hundred neuroscientists around the world involved in researching the effect of music on brain function and structure. Here is a small sampling.

Ellen Winner, Professor of Psychology at Boston College

Gottfried Schlaug, Professor of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School

James Hudziak Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont and Director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families.

Susan Hallam, Institute of Education, University of London

Nina Kraus, Director of Northwestern Universty's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, with Jane Hornickel, Dana L. Strait, Jessica Slater and Elaine Thompson of Northwestern University.

Dr. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Eric Rasmussen, Chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University,

Christopher Johnson, Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas

E. Glenn Schellenberg, University of Toronto at Mississauga

Dr. Frances Rauscher, Psychologist, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh

Gordon Shaw, Physicist at of the University of California at Irvine

Dr. Sylvain Moreno, Centre for Brain Fitness, Rotman Research Institute

Dana Foundation, Philanthropic organization that supports brain research.

The Harmony Project - studies the effects of music education on troubled youth, graduation rates, and . . .

 


2015