There have been more local tests of this theory, too. In Northern California, one school saw a significant jump in their students’ test scores one year after making band a mandatory class for sixth graders. Teachers have also noted that students who can play a musical instrument tend to do better in class, too.
But how does playing musical instruments actually benefit a child?
- Activate the brain through music! When a kid begins to learn how to play a musical instrument at an early age, it activates areas of the brain involved with both language and reasoning. That is one of the reasons music is sometimes referred to as a language. Even for older children, learning to play musical instruments stimulates their brains and, as you saw in the examples above, can improve how they perform in class.
- Build your kid’s social skills: Sounds contrary to the stereotypical band geek, huh? But think about it — Playing music isn’t often a solo sport. Classical instruments like clarinet, flute and trumpet aren’t often played alone, and when your child joins the school band (or even a friend’s band), they are also learning to work with others toward a common goal. One study found that band kids are also better at picking up on subtle emotional cues when they play music.
- Boost your kid’s confidence. Being able to play in the band can be an accomplishment in itself, but every concert or march they participate in with the band is also a job well done. Plus, the children are the ones responsible for actually putting in the practice time and building their skills, and they often take great pride in that (and should!).
- Improve their reading and math skills. A study from Long Island University found that students who take piano lessons have better vocabularies than their peers and another study found that music education helped struggling readers. As for math, it is one of the main tools a musician uses to determine how fast to go and how long to hold a note, which reinforces math concepts from the classroom.
- Plain and simple patience. When you play music in a group, you have to wait for your turn. Otherwise, the entire group is making noise, not music. Sometimes a particular musical instrument be stuck with 10 measures of nothing to do in a song, but they must wait their turn or the whole group will have to take it from the top.
We love to support our local music students at Eureka Trading Co.! Our selection of used musical instruments changes week to week, but we almost always have woodwinds, brass and string instruments available at affordable prices. Call our Eureka pawn shop at 443-2000 or visit us at 230 4th St. to see what musical instruments we currently have!