It’s generally pretty well established that musical education is something that will help young people in the development of both their intelligence and their personality. Despite this fact, music programs in most of Canada’s public schools are under fire and in danger of losing all their funding. The reason that provincial governments will often give is that music is not an essential skill like math or computer skills; a school would be much more likely to receive funding for a computer lab where kids can learn coding than a music room and a decent collection of instruments.
And while math and computer skills are definitely important, an analysis of the job market and where it will be in ten years’ time suggests that creativity and the ability to think flexibly will be the most important skills. Jobs that have been performed by humans for as long as we can remember will be automated, and it will be up to our kids to grow into decisive, confident grownups who can navigate a complicated future and carve out a niche for themselves.
So yes, emphasizing math and computers is important, but if kids aren’t brought up with a pursuit that stimulates creativity and opens those neural pathways that help with flexible thinking, they may run into trouble. The idea of choosing a specialty and sticking with it over an entire career is becoming totally anachronistic, so making sure that your child builds confidence and a unique creative voice is more important now than ever before if they are to have a happy and successful life.
So even though you’ve probably read a list similar to this one before, here are some less obvious benefits of music lessons for kids that may not have necessarily occurred to you:
Helps the Educational Process:
There are at least four ways that music will enhance your child’s overall learning abilities: it will certainly improve their motor skills; it can help them see the correlation between hard work, achievement, and gratification (when they finally nail that piano number they’ve been working on); it helps to improve memory function, and finally, music can improve abstract reasoning abilities.
Ignites the Creative Fire:
The easiest way to explain this benefit is to say that exploring music, even if your kids are going off of sheet music, is that playing music will probably lead to improvisation at some point, even if it is purely by chance. This creative spirit allows us to think outside the box and dig up solutions and ideas that are off the established grid: the kind of ideas that can transform a business or lead to an important discovery. The more scientific way to explain this is to say: music helps the right and left hemispheres of the brain to communicate with each other.
Helps with Mathematics:
Learning music helps forge strong neural pathways that are related to the way the brain processes and completes a math problem. Classical music – the rhythms and notes – are essentially mathematical; reading music will help your child see math as a more multi-dimensional discipline rather than a dry pile of boring numbers. It may also help them ace calculus without breaking a sweat!