I love music.
It is truly the one thing that can melt away stress and make me a more pleasant person almost instantly. While I would've loved to make a career out of singing, that was never really an option for me so instead I dove into being an educator and mama. Because music is a constant in our lives, it didn't take long before my children took an interest as well. My oldest is undoubtedly a musically inclined child too. She has a great set of pipes and does pretty well with the piano too. My younger daughter also sings beautifully and will hopefully begin taking guitar lessons in the near future. Both of our boys also love to sing, but it is yet to be determined if that's the beginning or end of their talent. To me, music is a huge part of life.
This is How Music Can Change Your Brain
In our previous post about extracurricular activities, we talked about why they are so good for kids. Then, in our S.T.E.A.M. post, we discussed the importance of kids being involved in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. After that, we talked about the value of sports and we touched on the importance of the arts in development. However, after reading an article called "This Is How Music Can Change Your Brain", I decided it was time to dig a little deeper into music and its role in child development. I'll save you a bunch of really scientific verbiage and cut to the chase.
Here's The Deal
As discussed in this Time article, a group from Northwestern University studied the effects of music on the developing brain. Their research, in fact, seemed to be very telling. After attaching electrodes to the brains of study participants, the data confirmed that children who have learned an instrument or who have actively participated in class have higher grades in school. Additionally, the data revealed that little musicians participate more actively in all classes across the board and even perform better in college. Some statistics of low income students even showed a 50% lower drop out rate than students who didn't learn music throughout their younger years. It also showed that these students didn't have to be concert pianists or award winners. These improvements were seen after children took and actively participated in quality music lessons for only two years.
The article went on to say that over the years, many parents are fooled by the "Mozart effect," which is the belief that simply listening to certain types of music can improve intelligence and cognitive development. This study proved quite the contrary. Listening to music just isn't enough. Children must actively learn and study music in order for the change to occur. The lead researcher on this study, Nina Kraus, said the following: “I think parents should follow their intuitions with respect to keeping their children engaged. Find the kind of music they love, good teachers, an instrument they’ll like. Making music should be something that children enjoy and will want to keep doing for many years!”
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