It is a fact that music positively affects a child’s development. Learning to play an instrument has been shown to enhance growth in areas of the brain involved in language, reasoning and spatial intelligence, and research has shown that those who play instruments do better on standardized tests and achieve higher grades in school.
Playing a musical instrument teaches children the value of self-discipline, showing them that perfection can indeed be achieved through practice. It is also a way for children to learn how to overcome anxiety and be comfortable with taking risks – whether through playing in front of an audience or simply in experimenting with the different ways a particular note can be played. Moreover, participating in a band or ensemble (either in school or as an extracurricular activity) builds a child’s ability to cooperate with others and work as a team.
Music is also the perfect venue for a child to gain an understanding of other cultures – learning about the origins of a particular instrument or through playing the music of other traditions. By being introduced to different cultures at an early stage, children gain empathy, understanding and tolerance for others.
Most importantly, music allows children an outlet for self-expression through which their creative energy can be funneled. It captures and articulates ideas or feelings incommunicable through language, allowing children to look beyond limitation and consider the impossible.
In the articles below, meet some musicians – young and old, Eastern and Western, novice as well as professional – who share how and why music has become an inseparable part of their lives.