A recent survey done by Gallup found that 54% of households have someone that can play a musical instrument. There is a very positive attitude to children learning music - 64% of people said that it was really important for children whilst they are at pre-school and school. Learning music goes far beyond being able to play a tune - there are actually significant health benefits when you learn to play an instrument, particularly for children when they are young. Physically, it has an effect on brain development which improves long-term memory and alertness. This has a positive impact on all learning, no matter what academic subject.
Music and coordination
Like sports, learning an instrument uses a combination of motor skills. You use both small and large muscles at the same time as well as your touch and hearing senses. This is extremely beneficial for improving coordination when children are young. Instruments like the guitar, with numerous strings are particularly good for this. Your child can start learning the guitar even when they are very young. Guitars are made in different sizes, from ¼ size upwards. Research has found that learning an instrument also helps with individual finger control and improves dexterity. This is especially beneficial when your child is young and they are learning to draw and write.
Music changes the brain
Learning to play a musical instrument when you are young actually changes the structure of the brain. The corpus callosum gets bigger in musicians. This is the area of the brain that deals with hearing, movement and visuospatial processing. Research done by the University of Montreal found that the changes in brain structure have an impact on sensory processes and improve the speed of tactile and auditory reaction times. The research also found that children who had played an instrument for more than 14 months had the most significant functional and structural brain changes. The musical training in turn enhanced their literacy skills, spatial reasoning and verbal memory, proving that music has a positive impact on all types of learning.
Music improves social skills
In the Gallup study, 93% of people said that learning to play a musical instrument helps children to socialize with others and make friends. 96% said that playing an instrument with others in a school band improves teamwork skills. Music does indeed help to strengthen your bond with others and improve your social skills. Research done by a professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga found that children who attended group instrumental lessons once a week throughout the school year showed a marked improvement in their prosocial skills and had a more sympathetic attitude. They were better at both conflict resolution and sharing and overall they were more confident when interacting with their peers.
Learning an instrument when you are young is extremely beneficial for children. Not only will they learn that music can bring you simple joy and happiness, it also has a marked effect on memory, learning and physical coordination - this is important for all areas of life.
Written by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
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