Music and Early Childhood Development
Studies have shown that learning music has had positive results in early childhood development through language development, spatial temporal skills, increased IQ, greater brain function, and improved test scores. Though there are great benefits from taking piano or voice lessons early on, parents should note that putting your young student through piano lessons isn’t going to make them significantly smarter. It will, however, improve various aspects of the brain and will help them with life-long disciplines that in turn may make them more well-rounded and interested in learning which could yield results that appear to have made them smarter. To sum it up, put your young one into piano lessons or voice lessons to help them become musical and the byproduct will make for a better student.
Studies have shown that taking music lessons can help improve the left side of the brain, which is responsible for language processing and development. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, a child psychology professor at Yale School of Medicine.
Studies have also shown improvement in spatial-temporal skills. Children that receive musical instruction visualize different elements that go together and make stronger correlations to different pieces. These skills help in multistep problems that one would see when dealing with math, art, engineering, gaming, architecture and other activities especially those involving computers.
A study by E. G. Schellenberg of the University of Toronto at Mississauga found an increase of IQs in six year olds who took weekly voice and piano lessons. On average, the study found that the students who took the piano and voice lessons scored 3 points higher than the control group who took no lessons.
A study by C. Johnson of the University of Kansas showed that students in elementary school who were taking music lessons, from piano lessons to guitar lessons, scored 20% higher in verbal and math tests than their non-musical counterparts. There was a high correlation between creativity and memory in musical students that helped them do better on these tests.
One cannot ignore all of the studies that show positive results from taking music lessons in early childhood. Again, this is not to say we should put our students through music for these added benefits, the number one reason should be to give them the gift of music, but the byproducts of these music lessons definitely make it more worth it.
By Sadi Rahman, Executive Director of North Fulton School of Music