Why your kids and teens should learn an instrument:
Ever wonder why people sing in the shower? When my brother was a teenager, he would belt out tunes randomly throughout the day, especially in the shower! While I didn’t appreciate it then, now I know why! It feels good! Science and experience both show that making music, either on an instrument or with one’s voice, is highly beneficial! Now, more than ever, kids and teens need music. There is substantial research supporting the many benefits of music education, So, if you’re still on the fence about signing your kids up for music lessons, read these 8 big benefits of music lessons below!
1. Provides Relaxation and Decreases Anxiety
Research shows that playing an instrument lowers cortisol levels, which decreases anxiety. Countless times I have started a piano or voice lesson with a teen student who appears to be stressed or agitated, or even tells me that he/she had a rough day. However, as we continue on in our lesson, I have noticed my students’ moods shift from tense and irritable, to relaxed and more joyful. They leave the lesson feeling lighter than when they started, and for me that’s a win!
2. Boosts Self-esteem and Confidence
Taking music lessons is a great way for kids and teens to boost their self-esteem and confidence, as they take ownership of their own progress. During lessons, we set goals and progressively achieve those goals. We try new things—hard things, and conquer them. We practice and practice and practice until finally we’ve mastered it. Seeing that sense of accomplishment and pride in my students when they learn a new skill, master a scale, or perfect a piece is the absolute best part about teaching music.
3. Provides Structure and Teaches Discipline
Taking weekly music lessons provides structure and teaches discipline and perseverance for all ages. Especially during virtual lessons, students are responsible for showing up for their lesson, signing on to the platform, getting their materials ready, and being prepared for the lesson. They know that they have their lesson each week at the same time, and they are responsible for practicing throughout the week. Students learn that when they put in the hard work of practicing, they perform better during their lesson, and progress faster. Students are required to work through the difficult spots of the music, and practice until they master the skill. I have watched my students continue to grow and take on more responsibility and ownership of their lessons since we started virtual lessons 10 months ago. It is so rewarding to see how they’ve risen above these new challenges.
4. Improves Language Skills
Research shows that learning an instrument, and more specifically the skill of distinguishing different pitches, improves speech processing and language skills in children. Studies also show that taking music lessons before the age of 14 maintains speech-listening skills later in life.
5. Improves Academic Skills
Studies show that learning a musical instrument can improve various academic skills, specifically in the areas of Science, Math, and English. More generally, taking music lessons can improve various cognitive abilities as well. “Structured music lessons significantly enhance children’s cognitive abilities—including language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning and inhibition—which lead to improved academic performance.” (Wilson, 2018).
6. Increases IQ
Since learning an instrument enhances various cognitive abilities, it in turn increases overall IQ. Research shows that learning to play a musical instrument increases one’s IQ score by seven points!
7. Provides a Creative Outlet and a Sense of Belonging
Taking music lessons provides a creative outlet for kids of all ages. With so many options of what they could spend their time doing, (i.e. playing video games, watching television, or being on their phone), it’s invaluable to offer an activity that is engaging, relaxing, and stress-reducing, that also increases their cognitive abilities, and improves their overall health and wellness!
8. Develops a Life-Long Skill
Taking music lessons is setting up your kids to enjoy a life-long skill. I love coming across adults who took piano lessons as a kid, who can still sit down and play several pieces on the piano. Taking music lessons is never a waste and will greatly enhance your life l even throughout adulthood.