There are many schools, and parents even, who believe that music education is not as important as the core subjects—math, reading, science, social studies, and history. There are actually some schools that don’t teach weekly music classes (when schools make budget cuts, music classes are among the first electives to go). This is an unfortunate reality, because there is a myriad of advantages that children gain with music education, whether it is singing, music appreciation, or learning to play an instrument. Below are some of these advantages, particularly for elementary students. The study of music
Helps children gain discipline. Learning to play a musical instrument helps children with discipline in many ways. Learning to play music calls for time management and daily practice. Allotting a specific amount of time and place to practice music trains children to become more disciplined. Learning an instrument has also been shown to be beneficial in children with ADHD, as it increases their attention and focus, thereby making them more disciplined.
Strengthens memory. Learning how to play an instrument makes one use both hemispheres of their brain. Learning music in general at a younger age is a memory booster, because it improves a child’s learning ability. When performing music, whether it’s singing or playing an instrument, children rely on their strengthened memory to be at their best.
Aids in language development. The left side of the brain is associated with language, and learning music really aids in developing the parts of the brain that are connected to language and reasoning. Also, when teachers marry their subject material with a song (for example, ABCs or naming all 50 states), it helps them retain information much better!
Improves coordination. Playing an instrument makes the young brain work harder in developing motor skills and multitasking. Both sides of the brain are at work when playing an instrument. When the body is at work with clapping hands while singing music, hand-eye coordination is strengthened while helping the student to concentrate on multiple activities.
Improves emotional health and aids coping. Music provides a positive outlet for emotional expression. Children—actually, any musician in general—can escape and find solace and enjoyment in singing songs, listening to music, or playing their favorite instrument. This form of escapism will likely help them later in life when coping with life situations; they will be acquainted with healthier outlets. It’s important to note that individuals who are musically inclined are better at coping with anxiety.
Leads to higher test scores. This is likely because music education strengthens abstract reasoning skills that aid in understanding reading and math. Studies show that musically inclined students score higher in these academic areas than students who receive low-quality or no music education.
Develops spatial intelligence. Music education helps students develop spatial skills which help them form mental pictures and perceive the world accurately. Students with strong spatial intelligence are good at solving problems and multistep math equations that come up in architecture and engineering.
Socializes children. Children who are deep in music education are likely to develop exceptional social skills. For example, in an orchestra or band, they must perform in a group and sometimes share the same sheet music. Whether in chorus class, band or orchestra, students learn to work together and form connections among each other. Understanding music strengthens communication skills by helping children express what they feel and think. This helps them relate to others and build friendships as well.
As we see, music education has many positive elements, and among them is relaxation and fun. Learning music can be rewarding and enjoyable to the point where it doesn’t even feel like learning! We should encourage learning music in grade schools and wherever it can be taught—whether at home or at a recreational center or at a music school, or anywhere else. So, let’s spread the music!