It is a sad fact that arts programs of every stripe are often the first to get the axe at public schools when funding is cut. Art and music are viewed by many as nonessential, and from a purely academic sense this is true. Few occupations require a background in these areas, unlike language and mathematics, which are essential to all kinds of professions. And yet, there are so many benefits to be gained by not only exposing children to music, but also educating them through vocal or instrumental instruction (in other words, offering band, orchestra, or choir lessons). While many schools still provide students with the opportunity to take such classes, it is incumbent upon parents to ensure that children become involved in musical courses. And when schools don’t offer instruction, parents need to find other ways to provide their kids with this useful tool. Here are just a few reasons why your children will continue to reap the benefits of such instruction now and in the future.
For starters, experts agree that students who appreciate music tend to be better able to focus on cognitive tasks. This could be due to the fact that an early and ongoing education in music helps the brain to develop in a number of ways. Studies have shown that kids exposed to musical instruction tend to display increased language and reasoning skills when compared to children who have no musical background. These kids are also more likely to harbor the ability to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. And recent studies have indicated that there may even be some kind of connection between music and the development of spatial awareness, which means that it could help just as much in the arena of mathematical abilities as verbal ones (although further research needs to be done to quantify such a relationship).
In addition, musical instruction can help students in the academic arena. Starting kids with an instrument or vocal lessons from a young age can teach them discipline and problem-solving skills, amongst other things. Regular practice sessions can familiarize them with the learning and performing format present in most classrooms. And learning about their instrument of choice will help them to become confident in their abilities to succeed and to solve problems. They’ll discover that hard work can help them to reach their goals, and that issues with their musical endeavors have answers that can be found and corrected. An instrument that doesn’t sound right can be tuned, for example. These lessons may help them to focus in class, have the confidence to participate, and even enjoy greater success when it comes to exams (since they are already comfortable with performing).
Of course, you don’t need a masters degree in music education to know that music can also open an entirely new world for kids, one in which you don’t need to speak another language in order to communicate with people and cultures around the world. Music can expose children to ideas and sounds they never dreamed of. And it can help them to establish their own personalities and ideas while offering them a unique means of expressing themselves. In short, musical education opens all kinds of doors and offers kids many opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy. So as a parent, you should try hard to ensure that your kids have music in their lives, even if that means teaching them yourself.