An article came out a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times about the long time benefits of early music lessons. (Click here to read article.) Researchers found that music lessons during childhood changes the brain and those effects continue, even if music lessons stop. However, people who continue to be engaged with music reap those benefits all through their life.
Learning to play an instrument strengthens auditory skills. Students with musical training are better able to pick out pitch, timbre, and timing of sound compared to students without musical training. Through the active engagement and discipline of learning music, students work on their working memory skills, attention skills, and language skills. These are all related to reading and understanding speech and the written language. Using music as a tool can help achieve goals in those areas and any other areas as well.
With so many instruments, teaching methods, and music curriculums options, it is the choice of the family and child to find what appeals to them. Students will be more motivated to learn and get more out of music time when they are invested. A part of learning music is for enjoyment and the discovery of how instruments work. Exploration of instruments, types of music, videos, recordings, and opportunities to make music give students a broad range of opportunities in music than a strict one instrument lesson for curious students. Through various mediums and activities, students can learn a foundation of rhythm, pitch, and music theory that can lead them in any direction of music they chose.
At The Parish School, each student has one music class a week where we sing, dance, play instruments, compose music, listen to music, and learn about instruments. Each class in the school performs in at least one show a year, singing a song, playing an instrument, or even dancing. Students work hard on listening to songs, understanding their meanings, and learning to perform them. They follow words and pictures on charts to help them learn the lyrics and then eventually memorize for their performance. The voice is a powerful instrument and there is only one of its kind in each person. And through learning how to sing, students are training their ears, working on their speech and language skills. Learning how to sing translates to developing a good speaking voice, which reflects their personality and ability to communicate.