• Facebook
  • iTunes
  • MySpace
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
Click Here to Join TBP's Mailing List

The Benefits of Music Education in College

Regardless of whether your child has the potential to become a famous singer like Beyonce or is more likely to enjoy singing alone in the shower. Music education is still likely to have some positive effects on them. Studies have demonstrated that gaining knowledge of musical notes can lead to advancements in other areas beyond the fundamental skills of reading and writing.

More Than Just Music

According to research, when children learn music, they also improve their skills in other subjects. Mary Luehrisen, the executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, explained that singing, listening, and moving to music can greatly benefit children's formal education. Learning music involves using many different abilities at once, including hearing, sight, and muscle memory. Kenneth Guilmartin, who co-founded the Music Together program, which helps young children develop musical skills, added that learning music can support overall learning and is a stimulating activity. However, he also emphasized that listening to Mozart does not necessarily make someone smarter.

Language Development

Luehrisen suggests that music has a positive impact on language development for children from the ages of two to nine. Music education can improve a child's natural ability to decode sounds and words. Growing up in an environment with music can be beneficial for language development, but it is important for these abilities to be reinforced and practiced through either formal music education or at-home practices. The Children's Music Workshop claims that musical training can physically develop the left side of the brain associated with language processing and can create specific circuitry in the brain. Additionally, linking new information to familiar songs can help children retain information. Dr. Kyle Pruett argues that there is a relationship between language development and music that can also enhance social competence as language and music are processed in the same parts of the brain.

Increased IQ

E. Glenn Schellenberg conducted research at the University of Toronto at Mississauga in 2004 that indicated a small improvement in the IQs of six-year-olds who attended voice and piano lessons once a week. Schellenberg taught a set of piano and voice lessons to twelve six-year-olds, offered drama lessons to another group of six-year-olds to compare the impact of exposure to just music with the influence of exposure to a wider range of arts, and provided no lesson to a third group. The children's IQs were checked before starting the first grade and before starting the second grade. Surprisingly, the group that received music lessons scored an average of three IQ points higher than the other groups. The drama group experienced increased advantages in social behavior but did not gain the same increase in IQ as the music-only group.

The Brain Works Harder

Studies suggest that the brain of a musician functions differently from those who lack a musical background, even from a young age. Dr. Eric Rasmussen, who heads the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, explains that there is good neuroscience research indicating that children involved in music have more neural activity growth than those who are not. Musicians must use more parts of their brain while playing an instrument. A research conducted by Ellen Winner, who is a psychology professor at Boston College, along with Gottfried Schlaug, a neurology professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, has discovered that the brain images of children who got music lessons and practiced regularly for 15 months showed alterations. Improvements were observed in the students' sound discrimination and fine motor skills, and brain imaging showed changes in the networks associated with those abilities, according to the private philanthropic organization, the Dana Foundation, that supports brain research.

Register to receive the PBS KIDS for Parents newsletter! Your child's potential is immense every day, and you can also aid in their learning process at home with the weekly email of activities and advice.

Spatial-Temporal Skills

Studies have shown that music instruction can enhance spatial intelligence in children, enabling them to imagine how different elements fit together, similar to what they would do when solving mathematical problems. Pruett, a co-founder of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, states that there is strong evidence to support the notion that music education consistently enhances spatial-temporal skills in children as they grow. Being proficient in these abilities is essential for dealing with complicated issues in various arenas like technology, engineering, art, math, gaming, and architecture.

Improved Test Scores

In 2007, the University of Kansas carried out research which found that primary school pupils who received top-notch music education programs showed improvements in their performance on standard examinations for English and mathematics. Specifically, their scores surpassed those of students in schools with insufficient music programs by 22% and 20% respectively, irrespective of their socio-economic background. Christopher Johnson, a music education and music therapy professor, compares the concentration and focus required by music training with the necessary focus for a successful performance in a standardized test. The study also highlights the positive effects of quality music education on a young child's achievements. Formal music training is linked to an increased ability to remember verbal information and better performance in concentration-based tasks. Additionally, schools with great music and arts teachers likely have outstanding teachers in other areas, resulting in an environment that fosters creativity, intelligence, and joy.

Being Musical

While music possesses the potential to improve a child's learning capacities and performance in non-musical endeavors, it is important to note that it does not directly confer greater intelligence upon a child. Music education offers numerous intrinsic benefits such as learning a skill, discipline, and a sense of pride in being part of the music community. However, parents should not have unrealistic expectations about the academic benefits of music education. Rather than that, emphasis should be placed on enhancing the musical skills of the child and cultivating their understanding and admiration for music as an art. The benefits of music education are unique to each individual and the value lies in being involved in music for the sake of music itself. Participating in music education enhances an individual's comprehension of themselves, the environment, and the means they can use to exhibit their creativity through artistic expression.

Author: Joel Perkins

For more show dates and information please visit