Music Education on Children’s Mental Development

Everyone has probably heard that “music makes you smarter”.  However, is it actually true? Do children benefit from some forms of music education? Research has shown that music education can help children excel in all forms of their life and academics. Musical training and education helps to develop language skills and reasoning skills. Mary Luehrisen, the executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, says “when you look at children age’s two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development, which is so important at that stage.”  Language development is important for all children since it is how they learn to understand the world through the decoding of sounds and words.  Music can often enrich a child’s language development and the effect of music on their development can be seen in the brain. According to the Children’s Music Workshop:

“Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.”

Music’s effect on language development is also good for children on a social lev el too.  Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine says that:

“The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music.  Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”

Kids who have early exposure to musical training develop the areas of the brain that are related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain can be better developed with music education and music. Kids and students who practice music and instruments can have increased coordination and improved hand-eye coordination since they can develop motor skills when playing music. Also when playing music students learn pattern recognition which can translate into the development of math pattern-recognition skills.  This can mean things like better SAT and standardized test scores. On study reports that for students who were in music appreciation courses that those same students scored 63 points on average higher than others on the verbal section of the SAT and 44 points higher on math.  Music also teaches students and kids’ creativity which can help them solve problems more creatively by thinking outside the box. Music can also help students in their development of spatial intelligence which helps in perception of the world, forming of mental images, and advanced mathematics.  Also research has shown that the brains of musicians are different from nonmusicians.  A study by Boston College found that there were changes in the brain images of kids who had 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice and had better sound distinction and were better at fine motor tasks.  According to Dr, Rasmussen, who is the chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, “[there’s] some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain.”,

2 Comments on Music Education on Children’s Mental Development

  1. hbl5075
    April 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s amazing how music can affect our brains but, I never knew how much it could affect our brains even at such a young age. Being a psych major this article reminds me of all the lectures and theories I learned in developmental psych, our brain really does absorb everything we hear and see.

  2. hlf13
    April 8, 2016 at 11:49 am (4 years ago)

    I can definitely see how playing an instrument can improve academic abilities. A musician has to read the notes, have an internal rhythm, pay attention to dynamics, listen to other instrumental parts (if they’re playing in an orchestra), and so much more. I’ve always thought that playing music seemed like a combination of mathematics (interpreting the notes, coordinating rhythm), and art as well (expressing emotion through music).
    I believe other arts forms have also been shown to improve SAT scores and academic success, so it will be interesting to see how each art form differs in terms of brain development, and how different genres of music impact the brain in different ways.

Leave a Reply