The benefits children and adolescents playing musical instruments are numerous. Experts have spent years studying its effect on both intellectual performance and brain development. And also its relationship with self-esteem, among others.
Research of High School students in British Colombia
The latest study published by the American Psychological Association concludes that young people who play musical instruments “improve their performance in subjects such as mathematics, science, and English”.
The research covers more than 110,000 high school students in British Columbia (Canada). Students who started Primary Education between 2000 and 2003.
Completed three high school courses, and took at least one standardized test in English, mathematics, or science during this time. Of these, 13% participated in a band or played musical instruments.
Among the conditions that were taken into account as valid for this study, those having a rock or jazz band, studying piano at the conservatory, or participating in a choir. However, regular music or guitar lessons were not taken into account.
The data was obtained by correlating their test results and their commitment to music. Also, to know whether music was influencing better or worse students’ performance.
This report concludes that “academic results were much better among those who had spent time with music in a band or a choir than among those who had not”.
The authors report in the study that music can influence goals and achievement. It improves students’ in core academic subjects such as English, Math, and Science.
Research by a professor at the University of British Columbia
Ultimately, our study suggests that “the more music you learn, the better your results”. Peter Gouzouasis, lead author and professor of Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia.
Gouzouasis finds that skills learned in a band or conservatory music classes are more useful for teenagers’ learning in school.
Learning to play a musical instrument and play it in an ensemble is very demanding. A student must learn to read musical notation and develop eye-hand-mind coordination. As well as, keen listening skills and team skills, to play in an ensemble.
Set and develop discipline for practice. All these learning experiences play a role in improving children’s cognitive abilities and self-efficacy.
The researchers hope that their findings will be taken into account by tutors, teachers, and administrative decision-makers in student education.
In the past, some schools have prioritized their efforts in math or science classes over other areas of learning, particularly music.
Other benefits of music for child development
Music can have a positive influence long before adolescence, and even from when we are born.
According to the study carried out at the University of Washington (Seattle) and published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.
The neural networks of premature babies who listen to music particularly adapted for them develop much better. In particular about sensory and cognitive functions.
Other research from 2017 found that listening to music at nine months of age helps babies’ better process musical notes and language. But he wasn’t just talking about children’s songs: any music is fine.
It was suggested that by experimenting with the rhythms of the melody. It is possible to detect and make predictions about the patterns of the melody and baby language in the future.