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Why Music Lessons for Kids?

Research has revealed strong correlations between quality music learning programs and academic achievement. Here is some research that was compiled by our friends at NAMM ( and Support Music (

Improved academics through music lessons for children

Music enhances the process of learning. The systems they nourish, which include our integrated sensory, attention, cognitive, emotional and motor capacities, are shown to be the driving forces behind all other learning.

The College Entrance Examination Board found that students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no arts participation.

U.S. Department of Education data show that students who report consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music during the middle- and high-school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. 3

Young children who received a year of musical training showed brain changes and superior memory compared with children who did not receive the instruction. 

The vast majority 96 percent of the school principals interviewed in a recent study agree that participation in music education encourages and motivates students to stay in school. Further, 89 percent of principals feel that a high-quality music-education program contributes to their school achieving higher graduation rates. 5

A study examined the influence of music education on non-musical abilities, the effects of music lessons on academic performance, and cognitive abilities. The study revealed that students who participated in music lessons showed statistically higher intelligence quotients. 6

Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among any group in our society.  

There is a high relationship between interest in school music and high self-perception, high cognitive competence scores and general self-esteem.

Building Lifetime Skills -How Playing Music Enhances Your Life

12 Important Skills Your Child Learns By Studying Music

Self-Confidence:  Being able to go from learning notes and rhythms to producing meaningful music instills in your child a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.

Coordination:  Hand, eye, body posture and thought all working together are the ingredients of playing an instrument. These coordination skills transfer to many other aspects of life.

Teamwork:  Every child wants to be part of a group. Theory and musicianship classes, in addition to group performances and recitals provide just such unique opportunities.

Comprehension:  Learning to perceive and derive meaning from musical sounds sharpens your child's ability to comprehend abstractions.

Problem-Solving:  Learning the basics of musical language and interpreting a work through performance teaches your child the ability to understand a problem and reach an appropriate solution.

Discipline:  Learning all of the basics of music and applying them correctly takes perception and discipline.

Art Appreciation:  The words beauty, serenity and excitement come to life with each musical experience. These feelings help every child appreciate all forms of the arts.

Logical Reasoning:  When your child learns to analyze a musical work from all perspectives or to improvise within a certain musical style, both inductive and deductive reasoning grows stronger.

Communication: Music offers the ability to cultivate our feelings and thoughts through nonverbal means and to respond to these nonverbal thoughts in others.

Conceptualization:  Your child learns to classify by learning to identify different types and styles of music and to recognize how cultures use music for personal expression.

Making Value Judgments:  Learning to comprehend, consider and evaluate in music can help your child make informed decisions and uphold value judgments in other aspects of life.

Using Symbols:  Learning to read, write and interpret musical notation strengthens the use of other symbol systems such as mathematics and language.


Ten Year Study Shows Music Improves Test Scores
Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests. UCLA professor, Dr. James Catterall, led an analysis of a U.S. Department of Education database. Called NELLs88, the database was used to track more than 25,000 students over a period of ten years. The study showed that students involved in music generally tested higher than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams. The study also noted that the musicians scored higher, no matter what socioeconomic group was being studied.
Reference: Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997.


Music Lessons Help Students More Than Computer Training
Research shows piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts. Preschoolers were divided into three groups: One group received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. The third group received no training. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others - even those who received computer training. "Spatial-temporal" is basically proportional reasoning - ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. This concept has long been considered a major obstacle in the teaching of elementary math and science.   Reference: Neurological Research February 28, 1997


Music Training Helps Underachievers
Researchers find arts training not only raises scholastic performance, but also improves student behavior and attitude. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grade classes. Half of the classes became "test arts" groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training. In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The "test arts" group had caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22%. In the second year of the project, the arts students widened this margin even further. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior. Classroom teachers noted improvement in these areas also.  Reference: Nature May 23, 1996


Piano Boosts Student Math Achievement
Taking piano lessons and using math puzzle software significantly improves math skills of elementary school children. Second-grade students were given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time using newly designed math software. The group scored over 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who used only the math software. Music involves ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. The software - called Spatial-Temporal Animation Reasoning (STAR) - allows children to solve geometric and math puzzles that boost their ability to manipulate shapes in their minds. The findings are significant because a grasp of proportional math and fractions is a prerequisite to math at higher levels, and children who do not master these areas of math cannot understand more advanced math critical to high-tech fields.  Reference: Neurological Research March, 1999


Musci Students Score Higher on SATS
In both verbal and math scores, high school student-musicians outpace peers. The College Entrance Examination Board reports, "Students of the arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT(R). In 1998, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 52 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 37 points higher on the math portion than students with no course work/experience in the arts." Longer arts study proved to parlay into even higher test scores. The 1996 report observed, "Those who studied the arts four or more years scored 59 points higher and 41 points higher on the verbal and math portions respectively than students with no coursework or experience in the arts."
Reference: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 1998, 1996.


Substance Abuse Lowest In Music Students
College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than non-musician counterparts. According to a study conducted at the University of Texas, college-aged music students have fewer problems with alcohol, are emotionally healthier, and concentrate better than their non-musical counterparts. "This study is interesting on many levels," commented Dr. Kris Chesky, one of the study's researchers. "First of all, it flies in the face of all the stereotypes out there about musicians. It also seems to support the assertion that studying music helps people learn to concentrate." The study looked at 362 students who were in their first semester of college. They were given three tests, measuring performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol related problems. In addition to having fewer battles with the bottle, researchers also noted that the musicians seemed to have surer footing when facing tests.  Reference: Houston Chronicle, January 11, 1998

1   Konrad, R.R., "Empathy, Arts and Social Studies" 2000  

2   "College-bound Seniors National Report: Profile fo SAT program Test Takes" PRINCETON, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001

3  Catteral, J., and Iwanaga, J., " Involvemetn in the arts and Human Development, " 1999 

4  Fujioka, T, Ross, B.  "Brain, A Journal of Neurology", Oxford University Press Sept. 2006

5  Harris Interactive Poll 2006

6  Schellenberg, G. Music Lessons Enhance IQ, Phychological Science, volume 15, No. 8 2004 



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