During “normal” times, usually students begin learning to play an instrument for one of two reasons. Either their parents encourage them to learn or the student has shown a personal interest in music and asked to take lessons. During this global health crisis, we are experiencing increased interest in private music lessons. Regardless of the reason, when children take music lessons, what they take away from them affects far more than their musical talent. Not only do the skills they learn carry over to academic performance and their adult lives, they help alleviate the stress students are feeling while their worlds are upside down.
According to several studies and researchers, music appears to have a specific effect on human response to stress. Even listening to music can reduce stress in the autonomic nervous system, possibly helping people recover more quickly from stressful situations. Having a musical instrument handy can be a calming factor during stressful times. Learning to play a musical instrument can take the mind away from negative emotional triggers and boost the mood.
University of Vermont researchers conducted a study that showed musical training could help children reduce feelings of anxiety, gain a greater control of their emotions and give a stronger focus to their attention. The results of the study were published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. The authors of the study analyzed the brain scans of 232 children aged 6-18 and found that playing music altered the behavior-regulating and motor areas of the brain. Along with reducing anxiety, learning to play an instrument can also help make children smarter (good to know in case you’re questioning your homeschool teaching skills) and less likely to suffer from depression.
With schools closed, parents working long hours, at home or not at all, activities canceled and a general sense of the unknown about life returning to normal, even the most stable lives can feel unstable right now. Having music lessons scheduled at a regular time each week provides a sense of stability and practice gives structure to other days.
READ: 5 Things to Consider Before Enrolling Your Child in Private Music
Taking music lessons is hard work and improving takes commitment and dedication. With every new note and song mastered, your child’s esteem improves. Music lessons reinforce the idea that with enough practice and patience your child can master anything life throws at him or her. Learning to play an instrument helps students cope better when they’re dealing with other issues that might be discouraging or frustrating.
Improve Physical Coordination
Music lessons improve dexterity, especially hand-eye coordination since the hands and fingers work independently. Remember when they played with blocks that promoted fine motor skills? While he or she outgrew such toys, playing a musical instrument is an activity that will continue to maintain coordination throughout life.
Increase Focus and Concentration
Reading sheet music requires mental concentration and creativity to translate both notes and musical rhythm. Critical thinking skills are constantly being reinforced as the brain quickly interprets and tells the hands how to respond by playing the right notes at the right time. In other words, reading notes and playing music keeps the brain on its feet. (This is especially reassuring at a time when parents are concerned about what too much screen and TV time is doing to their child’s brain.)
Promote Musical Exploration and Open-Mindedness
Music lessons are time and money well invested in the future. Hopefully, students will continue playing in some shape or form for the rest of their lives, but even not, being exposed to various music genres has a lasting effect. Students who take lessons are more likely to explore types of music outside. Don’t be surprised when Mozart pops up on a Spotify playlist. And, should your child decide to learn another instrument, the skills learned taking lessons makes it easier.
Perform Well in School
Study after study proves that children who take music lessons perform better in school. Music lessons increase standard and spatial cognitive development test scores when it comes to science and math testing. Students who take lessons score up to 35% higher on science and math tests because learning an instrument and math requires an increased understanding of ratios and fractions. If your child loves STEM or struggles with it, music lessons will be right up his or her alley.
Music Lessons Matter
Ted and Betty Meyer were both educators in local school districts before founding Meyer Music back in 1966. Coming from education, the Meyers made private music lessons an important part of our business. For the tens of thousands of Kansas City area students taking or grew up taking music lessons at Meyer Music, learning to play an instrument has been a source of stress relief, anxiety relief and stability, to name a few.
No music store offers more music lessons than we do, and our vetted, quality instructors work with students ranging from beginning to advanced skill levels. If you are interested in music lessons (on-site or online), the Meyer Music location nearest you has specific information regarding teachers and their availability for scheduling private lessons.