Although arts education as a whole has endured severe funding cuts in recent years, there is important evidence that music education, in particular, has tremendous educational benefits that go far beyond simply teaching children to enjoy a good tune.
Music and language share a crucial connection
In a recent article by Huffington Post reporter Rebecca Kin, she cites a new study from Northwestern University, which examines the impact of music education on at-risk children’s reading and language development. Researchers found that, “music lessons could help them [children] develop language and reading skills. The study is the first to document the influence of after-school music education on the brains of disadvantaged children, as opposed to affluent children receiving private lessons.”
The findings suggest that education in music actually changes children’s brains. Musical training develops the left side of the brain, long known to be crucial in the processing of language. In the study, children were connected to a neural probe which allowed researchers to see exactly how the children, “distinguished similar speech sounds, a neural process that is linked to language and reading skills.”
IQ related to music education
Want to raise IQ? Try music education! In a study published by E. Glenn Schellenberg in Psychological Science, six-year olds who studied music for nine months were tested against children who studied drama, as well as a control group that received no additional arts training.
The result? The children who received piano and voice lessons tested, on average, three IQ points higher than both of the other groups!
Music education can improve test scores
In a study published by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, elementary-aged students who participated in superior music education programs scored approximately 22% higher in English and 20% higher in math on standardized tests. The students were compared with students of the same age and socioeconomic status, who were enrolled in elementary schools with low-quality music programs.
In addition to test results, music training is also proven to help with basic recall, particularly remembering verbal information. This, of course, aids students in recalling lecture information for day-to-day testing situations, resulting in higher grades in school.
Additional academic benefits of music education
Music education offers a host of other academic benefits for children of all ages. Studying music teaches children to see the world in a different way and also helps improve:
- sound discrimination,
- fine motor tasks,
- spatial intelligence,
- the ability to think creatively, and
- compassion and empathy.
How Delaware parents can integrate music education into a child’s life
If your school does not have a large music program, or perhaps has no music program at all, how can you integrate music education into your child’s life? Here are four easy ways:
- Music Classes. Teachers, tutors and classes are available for everything from traditional piano and violin, to electric guitar and marimba. For example, the Wilmington Music School offers a continuum of musical experience classes of all kinds – starting for children as young as 6 months old.
- Private Music Instruction. For a more personal experience, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Wilmington and Newark, Delaware offers 1-on-1 instruction in many instruments including clarinet, flute, drums, guitar, oboe, piano, tenor sax, trumpet and violin. Students receive the complete attention of the instructor and can advance at their own pace. Plus, tutors are available throughout New Castle County and can even travel to a student’s home, office, or school, 7 days a week.
- The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is wonderful children’s choir for the Greater Wilmington community in Delaware. Their mission is to share a love of choral singing, performance and musical knowledge, plus they provide free access to all interested children, regardless of their financial, social or ethnic background.
- The University of Delaware Children’s Choir. This choral music education and performance program at the Community Music School at the University of Delaware is open by audition to qualified child with a treble (unchanged) voice, in grades 1st through 7th.
No matter which method you choose to integrate music into your children’s lives, they will benefit from the musical experience. So, encourage your kids to break out the harmonica, banjo or ukulele and… make some music!
To learn more about all of the music options offered 1-on-1 in Delaware, please contact Back to Basics Learning Dynamics at 302-594-0754.