Guest Post: 5 Advantages Of Being Musical

Did you play a musical instrument as a child?  Do your children play any musical instruments or have an interest in learning to play one?  I played a trumpet in my school band and later gave that same trumpet to my oldest who went on to play it in 5th and sixth grade.  Being 5 Advantages of Being Musical (2)able to read music has always been an advantage for me, so I just had to share this guest post when I found it in my email.  Enjoy!

5 Advantages of Being Musical

There is a long-held cliché that music will make you smarter. Perhaps that’s why expectant mothers fill their homes with soft classical music.  But despite the way in which this idea connecting music and intelligence gets tossed around, there might be some surprising validity to the oft-heard remark. From spatial-temporal reasoning to higher test scores, here are five potential advantages to being musical.

1. Hardworking Brains

Much research points to the idea that a musical brain is an applied brain. Neuroscience shows a significant difference in growth between a musical brain and a non-musician’s brain. Dr. Eric Rasmussen of Johns Hopkins University believes this can be attributed to the fact that when “you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain.” In the musician’s brain, extensive networks grow to connect discrimination abilities with fine motor skills.

More advanced spatial-temporal skills can also develop through musical experience. These skills help the brain reason through and combine elements together in multi-step problems. And that has been attributed to higher scores in math, art, engineering, architecture and computer projects.

2. Self-confidence

Music has also been linked to academic progress in more formal areas of study. Playing a scale on the violin involves countless micro muscle movements. From positioning the fingers to holding the instrument to drawing the bow with the right pressure in the other hand, the simultaneous parts requiring focus help children to develop the ability to “tap into multiple skill sets” at the same time. Kenneth Guilmartin, one of the founding members of Music Together, points out that music requires students to use their ears, eyes, large and small muscles all at once. Counting, memory and reasoning are usually a part of this equation as well.

When children experience success from this type of multi-faceted stimulation, they often receive a boost in self-confidence. Mastering a new piece of music and being able to perform it for others is really quite an accomplishment. Music can instill a sense of pride and achievement in young learners. And as they grow, a background in the arts will continue to serve them well.

3. Language Development

Another interesting connection between music and the brain appears in the area of language development. “Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale. This is believed because some studies demonstrate that the left side of the brain, known as the site of language processing, develops during musical training.

At some point in your education or career, you may have learned a song to help you recall information. The link between familiar tunes and new information “‘can help imprint information on young minds,’” reports PBS.org. This link between language and music can help the brain to wire specific circuits.

4. Learning Discipline

Along with cognitive growth, music can also lead to improved life skills like persistence and self-discipline. A lot of responsibility and dedication is required to pull out the trumpet everyday and practice scales and songs for upwards of a half hour. Though parents will likely have to supply some encouragement and motivation at times, leaving this up to the child eventually creates a strong sense of self-discipline as well as accomplishment. Kids can learn through music the value of persistence as they keep practicing and slowly see improvement in their abilities.

5. Enjoying the Arts

Finally an involvement in music, whether it’s guitar lessons in San Diego or children’s choir in Raleigh, will provide kids with a greater appreciation of music. This can lead to a lifelong hobby or just an understanding of musical composition that makes them well-rounded. In either case, music can instill passion and perspective in your growing child.

Photo Credit:  Image from www.telegraph.co.uk