The Benefits of Teaching Music & Learning an Instrument

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The Benefits of Teaching Music & Learning an Instrument

Regardless of language or cultural background, it is fair to say that almost everyone enjoys at least some style of music. Yet for how popular music is, it is quite interesting to observe how little our society promotes the benefits of music education. Granted, this is improving due to the recent inclusion of arts in the science technology engineering mathematics (STEAM) initiatives, but it does not seem to be enough as more and more of our nation’s schools are closing music departments due to budget issues. To help spread awareness on the importance of music education and an online music degree, here are a few of the myriad benefits for teaching music and learning an instrument.

Benfits of Teaching music

Improves Neural Activity

Research by John Hopkins University has shown that playing an instrument requires more of the brain than regular every-day activities, which, overtime, leads to musicians having a stronger, more diverse neural structure than non-musicians.

Music Builds Intellectual Curiosity

By learning an instrument or listening to a song, individuals will naturally increase their intellectual curiosity about music and perhaps even life in general. For example, after hearing a song, a student may become curious as to how that song was made and thus desire to learn an instrument. Or an advanced student may be curious as to why certain notes sound pleasant when they are played together. Furthermore, they may then become interested as to why some chords sound sad. The intellectual avenues that can be explored are about as infinite as music itself.

Fine Tunes Auditory Skills

As one may imagine, listening to music and learning an instrument fine tunes auditory skills and improves the brain’s ability to discern meaning from what it is hearing. For example, students and individuals that spend a considerable amount of time listening and playing music will often have a sharper sense of hearing and are better able to predict and follow patterns.

Develops Creative Thinking

It is widely understood that music can play an incredible part in developing critical thinking. Whether it is creating a new song from scratch or analyzing lyrics to uncover their meaning, music provides students with countless opportunities to be creative and experimental. This experimenting is greatly needed in schools as few subjects provide students with the rich creative opportunities that a musical education offers.

Increases Coordination

Generally, we tend to associate coordination with physical movement like walking, but it is also beneficial to coordinate individual body parts. It is widely known that practicing a musical instrument on a consistent basis can greatly improve hand-eye coordination.

Kids Stay Engaged in Schools

Although there are certainly direct academic benefits of having music in school, it is also important to consider some of the social, emotional and psychological benefits of a music education. One of these benefits is that music helps kids stay engaged in schools.

For instance, there are often some students who are not particularly fond of core academic classes like math or science. Yet the very fact that for one hour a day they can play and practice a musical instrument inspires them enough to become excited about going to school each day.

Emotional Development

Building off the example provided above, for some students, music may be the only subject where they can find true success while at school. These successes can provide emotional encouragement for when they struggle with other subjects that they may not excel as much with. Furthermore, many students have found that music education helps them with their self-esteem and anxiety.

Provides a Unique Way of Self-Teaching Discipline

Learning an instrument gives students a unique way to understand and appreciate the importance and benefits of discipline. For example, initially a student may not be very successful at playing their instrument. But if they are encouraged to keep practicing and giving an effort, they soon will realize that the more that they practice, the quicker they improve. This insight can then be carried over into other subjects as well.

Improves Efforts in Other Academic Areas

A study by the University of Kansas found that elementary students with music education performed much higher than non-music students in subjects such as English and Math. Furthermore, math is an integral part of music theory, so there are plenty of ways that music and math can be combined in the classroom.

Cultural Empathy

For thousands of years, music has been used as a cultural emulsifier. Therefore, in the classroom, music can be leveraged to promote the acceptance of cultural diversity, as well as to encourage individuals to explore another country’s music and culture.

As you can see, there are myriad benefits that come with obtaining a music education master degree and teaching music education. Whether it involves cognitive development or socializing with peers, students can find whatever they are seeking in their school’s music department.

Are you passionate about music and education? Well, why not share your passion with others by becoming the next graduate of Kent State’s online Master of Music in music education program. You can study entirely online and graduate in as few as 23 months – find out more today!


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