The benefits of music education are immense and highly beneficial to students. Music positively impacts a child’s academic performance, assists in developing social skills, and provides an outlet for creativity that is crucial to a child’s development. Music education catapults a child’s learning to new heights, and because of this, it should always be considered a pivotal part of a child’s educational process.
Music Education and Its Impact on Student Learning
Music education improves and develops language skills in children. Music stimulates the brain, and with its varied sounds and lyrics, students are exposed to a large amount of vocabulary in a short amount of time. Music also provides exposure to other languages, which creates a foundation for the student’s ability to understand and communicate in a different language.
Music is a vehicle for excellent memory skills. Have you ever listened to a song for the first time in a long time and still remember the lyrics? Even individuals who are not musicians experience this phenomenon. Through catchy melodies and a variety of sounds, music has a way of “sticking” with us and is a powerful tool for learning when used appropriately — just think of singing the ‘A, B, Cs’ or ‘The State Capitols’ song.
On the flip side, students also increase their mental capabilities in multiple ways when participating in music education. As stated before, music fosters memorization skills. In addition to song lyrics, students must memorize all aspects of music when preparing for a performance. Students must recall rhythms, pitches, dynamics, and several other elements all at once. Students can then transfer those memory skills to the academic classroom and employ those skills in their studies.
Social Benefits of Music Education
The mental benefits of music education are extremely advantageous to students in schools; however, the social benefits are just as wonderful! Music education requires teamwork and collaboration. While playing instruments together, students develop listening skills. They must listen to others to better gage volume levels, the implementation of dynamics, and so much more. Teamwork and collaboration is also required when completing simple musical tasks such as rhythmic and melodic notation. Students quickly learn to value the opinions and ideas of others and how to efficiently combine those thoughts to complete the task at hand.
In addition to teamwork, music education creates long lasting friendships and relationships. Students involved in band or choir bond over their love and enjoyment of music. They share exciting moments together through music, help develop one another’s abilities, and become a support system for each other. This special bond also increases student engagement in school.
Music education allows students an opportunity to experience different cultures. In early music education, the use of songs and games from other countries is extremely prevalent. Students learn how other children play and compare that knowledge to their own lives. In addition, students develop an understanding of other cultures, which leads to a beautiful acceptance of others. Students realize that recognizing differences is good, and it creates a greater respect for others.
Other Benefits of Music Education
Music education promotes improved coordination, specifically hand-eye coordination. Musicians must multitask! They must do multiple things all at once, all of which improves coordination and further develops the brain. Student musicians must read music, interpret it, and physically initiate the music through the playing of their instrument. These steps are repeated continuously throughout any performance of a piece of music, and even the youngest of learners slowly develop their coordination skills through continued music practice.
Music education fosters greater work ethic and discipline in children. Students of music learn from an early age that hard work, determination, and a positive mindset are all you need to succeed, but with those characteristics, continual practice is required. Students learn that improving musical skills does not come easy, as it requires hours of study and practice. Through this, students gain a greater concept of work ethic and learn to discipline themselves to reach goals. Work ethic and discipline are huge factors of music education, and it is important to note that those life skills will positively impact a student when entering the work force, completing tasks, etc.
Because music education is an outlet for creativity, it can be a source of stress relief. Unfortunately, there are many stressors present for children at school and at home (pressure to pass the test, make the grade, make the team, exceed expectations, and so on). Music education allows students a chance to excel with fewer limits and greater possibilities. It also gives students something to look forward to during the school day (not that students do not look forward to math, science, etc.); thus, directly impacting student engagement in school. Music simply provides a different means of student expression, and there are fewer barriers to what students can do and explore. Students who are involved in music education generally have an overall increase in engagement and enjoyment in school.
The final benefit of music education may be one of the most important benefits. Music transcends the limits of language. Music has no language barrier. It is something that brings people together regardless of ethnicity or background. Music also transcends academic barriers as well. All learners can be successful in music. Sometimes, students who are not very inept academically soar in the arts! Students who cannot remember basic math skills can remember and employ the use of various rhythmic patterns effortlessly. Music literally becomes their best subject, and they shine in it! Through this, a student’s sense of self and his/her confidence is dramatically boosted. All children desire to be good at something and develop a sense of achievement for a job well done, and music education produces an outlet that is perfect for that.
Elementary school music teacher; M.A.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction