Are music lessons as important for kids as we are led to believe in schools nowadays?
In many districts–including some in Kern County–music education is relegated to an afterthought, something to be considered only when it threatens to be eliminated from a school budget. This should never be the case, as music lessons are vitally important for students–and for more reasons than you might think! Here are some points to consider:
- One study revealed that young children who received a year of musical training showed brain changes and superior memory compared with children who did not receive the instruction. “It is very interesting that the children taking music lessons improved more over the year on general memory skills that are correlated with nonmusical abilities — such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics and IQ — than did the children not taking lessons,” said Laurel J. Trainor, researcher of the study at McMaster University in Canada (Fujioka, Ross, Kakigi, Pantev and Trainor. Brain, a Journal of Neurology. Oxford University Press, September 2006).
- A study of rural and urban inner-city schools found that arts programs helped schools in economically disadvantaged communities develop students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills; create more opportunities for intellectual and emotional exploration; increase student self-esteem, self-expression, interest in school and engagement with others; promote school-wide communication and collaboration and increase parental involvement and teacher creativity (Stevenson and Deasy. Third Space: When Learning Matters. Arts Education Partnership, 2005).
- Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell wrote in The Journal for Research in Music Education (2007) that “[t]eens who participate in music education programs see music as their ’social glue,’ as a bridge for building acceptance and tolerance for people of different ages and cultural circumstances, and associate playing music with music literacy, self-discipline, listening skills, motor ability, eye-hand coordination and heightened intellectual capabilities.”
- In addition to the multitasking requirements playing a musical composition represents, a person must be able to focus consistently for extended periods of time. This takes an enormous amount of training and willpower, but the positive effects cannot be overexaggerated.
If there’s a time to be outspoken about the importance of music education for students of all ages, that time is now. One way to do this is to simply let the powers that be in your child’s school district know of your desire to help keep music part of the school curriculum. Making your message a positive one will make it more likely to be heard in a favorable manner.
The second way to make your voice known is through enrolling your children in music lessons. Bakersfield is blessed to have a plethora of music instructors in every conceivable discipline. Make sure you shop around and ask for advice from other parents and colleagues on good instructors for the instrument your child plays. At California Keyboards Music Center, we have over twenty instructors that teach piano, violin, guitar, trumpet, flute, clarinet, saxophone, and many other instruments. If you’re interested, you can click here to find out more.
Music has been part of each of our individual life soundtracks. It’s time to make sure the next generation is able to enjoy theirs.