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Do Music Lessons for Students Improve Math, Science and English Test Scores?

May 29, 2020

Do Music Lessons for Students Improve Math, Science and English Test Scores?

Science says yes.

Parents, are you less than thrilled with your child’s academic performance and grades? Are you worrying about how to maintain your child’s self-esteem during the infamously rough middle school years? Do you look for relevant ways to enrich your child’s life now that will have life-long benefits?

Those questions might sound like the opening lines of an infomercial for affordable music lessons. Even so, they bring up points that generations of parents have lost sleep over. And, every parent has thought up his or her own ideas, incentives and ideas in response. What if all along the answer was indeed encouraging your child to participate in band or orchestra and learn how to play music?

Do music lessons for students improve their math, science and English test scores? Can being involved in band and orchestra classes buffer those rough middle school years?

Science says yes.

According to a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology in 2019, high school students enrolled in music courses score significantly better on math, science and English exams than their non-musical peers.

The study examined data from more than 112,000 students enrolled in British Columbia public schools who completed their senior years between 2012 and 2015.

Peter Gouzouasis, the principal investigator, said, "The students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary and continued playing in high school not only score significantly higher, but were about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades, regardless of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, prior learning in mathematics and English, and gender."

In a nutshell, when children enroll in music lessons and/or take band or orchestra in school, they:

  • Learn to read music notation
  • Develop and improve eye-hand-mind coordination
  • Hone listening skills
  • Develop team and leadership skills while playing in an ensemble
  • Build self-discipline to practice
  • Improve memory recall

Playing music has numerous positive effects on the brain. Musicians use their brains more efficiently to process information by using almost every area of the brain. Playing an instrument also forces musicians to use both sides of their brains, the left (the logical side) and the right (the creative side). Between brain responses and the learning experiences, the result is your child’s enhanced cognitive capacities, decision making, motivation to learn and self-confidence.

READ: Selecting the Right Step-Up Instrument at the Right Time

Sign my kid up for affordable music lessons! The academic benefits alone are reason enough to get your child involved in music. But, there is more—the social skills.

The middle school years are notoriously tough on students, and thus, parents. Several studies give insight as to why the 11 to 14 age years are so difficult… puberty, peer pressure, bullying, social media, etc. The million-dollar question is how parents can best support their child during this time.

Ranking high on the list of possibilities is getting your child involved in music lessons and school band or orchestra classes. Ask any parent who has raised a child through the middle school years. Most will tell you that band or orchestra class was where their child found “their tribe.” Often, that tribe moves to high school together, strong bonds formed, as well as opportunities to take leadership roles in competitions and their sections.

READ: 5 Things to Consider Before Enrolling Your Child in Private Music

Students who take music lessons have the opportunity to expand their musicianship beyond what the band or orchestra director can provide during class, which naturally can give them a bit of an edge. Enrolling in affordable music lessons gives your child a one-on-one experience with a teacher focused only on him or her.

Meyer Music offers a wide range of music lessons in the Kansas City area. Our vetted, quality teachers work with students in elementary, middle and high school. If you are interested in instrument rental and music lessons (on-site or online), get in touch with the Meyer Music location nearest you for more information.