Why you should support your child’s interest in musicFebruary 24, 2015
While taking up a sport is often the common path for many children as they enter adolescence, the consideration of learning an instrument tends to be overlooked. Many schools with music and arts programs across the United States, including those at the university level, often struggle for funding while athletic programs enjoy an ample level of fiscal security.
When parents (and school officials) fully understand the many cognitive, social and educational benefits that are associated with a child learning an instrument, this passive and dismissive attitude toward the arts might get shifted.
If your child or children are showing interests in learning an instrument, take some time to understand how this can mean a better life and future for them, and possibly even an improved family bond in your household. As one video from Ted Ed suggests, playing an instrument is like a “full body workout” for the brain, and this will help break down the reasons even further.
1. Learning an instrument teaches discipline and persistence
Teaching your child the art of discipline isn’t easy, and can often lead to rather obstinate behavior. But if your child is hoping to take up an instrument, there is a good chance that they will learn how to employ discipline just by practicing. Whether it is improvisation or learning a composed piece, there is no way a child, or any musician for that matter, will achieve mastery without hours of devotion and dedication.
Getting used to this process can help your child understand the necessity of persistence and patience in many other facets of their life if they wish to succeed academically and beyond.
2. According to Northwestern University, it can help with language skills
Research done under neuroscientist Nina Kraus, professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, has shown that children who learn instruments are able to better process the understanding of language. She also suggests that this can help children who struggle with disabilities such as autism and dyslexia.
In a publication released under the NAMM foundation back in 2010, Kraus’ research showed “that musical experience strengthens many of the same aspects of brain function that are impaired in individuals with language and learning difficulties, such as the neural timing precision which allows differentiation between speech syllables.” (http://www.nammfoundation.org/educator-resources/biological-benefits-music-education-nina-kraus-phd)
3. It can expand the part of the brain that handles cranial communication
Another piece of research done under Catherine Y Wan and Gottfried Schlaug contained strong evidence that children who took up learning an instrument around the age of seven had a developed a larger corpus callosum – the part of the brain that handles the communication between the brain. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996135/)
Those with a strengthened connection between the two hemispheres of the brain are able to better identify problems and think of new ways to solve them. Intuitive thinking is essential for workers hoping to enter growing fields of web development, programming, and more.
4. It can help combat cranial deficiencies associated with ADHD
With the help of even more scientific support from the Boston Children’s Hospital, children who take up an instrument at a young age activate their prefrontal cortex early, an area associated with disorders such as ADHD. Training this part of the brain early on can help kids complete tasks from start to finish, otherwise known as “executive function”.
5. It can bring your family together
Encouraging your child to pursue their interest of learning an instrument has the potential to form a lasting bond that fosters trust and support. By providing support for music lessons, instruments, books, and more, you can experience the enjoyment out of watching your child slowly master their instrument of choice.
Watching them perform at recitals and concerts can help you bring an appreciation and understanding of the time and discipline associated with learning an instrument. Encourage them to take their interests as far as they want to go, and there’s a good chance that you’ll raise an intelligent and confident son or daughter.
Ezra Melino is a musician, writer, and digital marketer based out of North Carolina. As a digital strategist, he promotes music channels on Direct TV and more. You can reach him at arzemeloATgmailDOTcom.