Several exciting studies have recently been published showing a correlation between brain development and music lessons in young children. These studies show that children eight and younger who play an instrument develop stronger cognitive skills and keep them for life. Mozart began composing songs at age 5 and Beethoven was reported to be 71/2 when he gave his first performance. Does this mean parents should rush out and start music lessons to develop the next great musical prodigy? Or that if you over the age of 8 you’ve missed out on the melodic marvel of music education. Of course not.
As a life-long musician and music teacher, these studies support my belief in music education. Older studies also show that music lessons are beneficial whenever students begin.
Music lessons provide more than brain development. The best music instruction will only help if the student plays an instrument he or she enjoys and will actually practice. Without practice there is no music.
Here are some of my reasons music lessons are important
- Music lessons nurture an appreciation for music and creativity.
- Music lessons teach you to read music and master timing and rhythm.
- Music lessons teach responsibility and time management
- Music lessons teach students who play in bands and orchestras how to work together in a group.
- Music lessons challenge students to be self-competitive – think about wanting to be the first chair or having a solo in a performance.
- Music lessons develop public appearance skills. A two-minute public performance may take months of preparation and then a whole lot of nerve to perform.
- Music lessons make you interesting – who doesn’t like hanging out with the musician at the party or lead a sing-a-long.
- Music lessons travel well.
- Music is universal and anything we can learn to help us connect with other people should be encouraged at any age.
I’ll stop at 9 reasons but I could go on for dozens more. If I may help you on your musical journey give me a call. I teach saxophone, clarinet, and flute. And when you study with me, you always sit in the first chair.
Barry Fleischer, February 2014