Music is an art. It permeates our culture, and has done so for thousands of years. Music is an ever-evolving art form of human creativity and inspiration, changing through technology and cultural influence. Music has played an integral role in our development as a society, and has been used as a tool to spread ideas, conjure powerful emotions, or help us explore beautiful soundscapes in our minds.
Learning how to play music can be an enlightening experience for many, allowing them to tap into their inner creativity and project emotion and expression outward to share with others. While there is certainly the congratulatory effect of learning to play an instrument well, there are many other benefits to investing in musical education that some may not be aware of.
It’s no secret that introducing musical education early on can have profound positive effects in the developing minds of our children. The Brain and Creativity Institute conducting a 5 year study that began in 2012 in order to study the impact that musical education had on child development, such as reading, writing, emotional development, language, communication, and social skills.
What the BCI is discovering through this study is astounding. As children develop musical talent through practice and exposure, their brains undergo a physiological change; enhanced maturity of specific cognitive centers of their brains allow for enhanced neuroplasticity. In simple terms, the children are developing powerful skills and fundamentals at an accelerated rate, as well as gaining the ability to fine assimilate information rapidly which directly affects intellect and learning ability.
Memory Development and Neuroplasticity
Being able to recall memories accurately and in detail is quite a feat. In the modern era of high-speed living, we sometimes forget where we leave our phone or wallet, much less recalling each note from a sheet of music. It has been well documented that acquiring musical skill actually aides in developing the parts of the brain that record and retain information. Exercising the memory centers of our brains helps to reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning. This is called neuroplasticity.
“Flexing” your brain with musical education can actually help keep your mind focused and healthy, helping you to carry these abilities into your everyday life. Who doesn’t want to remember where they misplaced their keys?
Music is all about patterns and rhythm. Recognizing these patterns takes time and patience, but the pay-off is well worth the effort.
Once a person has acquired the ability to “read” music, they tend to be able to “read” patterns that appear in everyday life. This can translate into mathematics and algebra, shape and color recognition, and even advanced communication skills. Advanced pattern recognition is also a key talent for becoming a language expert or linguist.
So many of our cognitive functions are related to one another, that it comes as no surprise that musical education has so many valuable byproducts and beneficial effects on our brains.
Believe it or not, musical education can have an impact on your emotional capacity for empathy, as well as self-esteem and coping with adversity and anxiety.
Being able to confront these emotional states and deal with them in a healthy way is important not just for children, but adults as well. Those who engage in musical education tend to exhibit greater control over their emotional responses, and are much more receptive to various cultural differences and differing perspectives.
Creative education requires a certain level of dedication and discipline to acquire skills necessary to succeed. Becoming a talented musician certainly requires fortitude and perseverance. Through musical education, one can gain the ability to focus on a task, and hold themselves to a particular set of ideals and work ethic.
Hard work is the backbone of every success story, and having the discipline to see a task through to the end is a powerful capability that can help yield gratifying results.
Not only is discipline a valuable asset for learning, composing, or playing music; it is also an invaluable tool to carry with you into a professional setting or career.
We as a people tend to be quite conscious of ourselves. Sometimes this can lead to anxiety and trepidation, especially when we lack confidence in what we are doing or how we appear to others.
Learning to play an instrument can help in magnificent ways with instilling self-assurance. Knowing that you are capable of something complex, or creating something beautiful is certainly its own reward, but you can channel that into your personal life as well in the form of self-confidence.
With the encouragement of instructors, peers, friends, and colleagues, we can gain a sense of comfort in what we do and the decisions we make. Taking pride in our abilities instills in us a boldness that allows us to face any challenge and succeed, or to learn from our mistakes and try again.
Musical education is not just for adults. It is great for children of almost any age. It is important to continue supporting and advocating for musical education in our schools in order to help our children acquire some of the amazing benefits that musical artistry has to offer. Helping them to build self-confidence, creativity, discipline, and social skills should be every parent’s dream. We want our children to have every opportunity today to be successful tomorrow, and to be capable of exceeding our expectations.
Music is one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity; it helps define who we are. Let us continue this tradition and pass it on to our children, so that they may pass it on to theirs!