Music like any other educational discipline is important in school. While we may be tempted to neglect music classes in favor of conventional studies, music studies are also equally essential. Listening to music helps reduce stress inducing hormone known as cortisol. Playing music is even better. Learning to play an instrument improves the general performance of the brain, while at the same time reducing cortisol levels. It goes without saying that musical lessons should be given equal priority like all other disciplines, because music as a subject offers many advantages to students.
Listening to music stimulates the release of Dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure. When your favorite song comes on, there is an excitement that engulfs you. This is facilitated by Dopamine. Playing music on the other hand stimulates the brain to release Oxytocin. This chemical is referred to as the “moral or trust molecule”, because it helps us bond with others and have intimate relationships. Kids introduced to music at an early age therefore have a large reservoir of Dopamine and Oxytocin continuously circulating in their brains, which makes them more likely to be happier than kids with no musical backgrounds.
So why is music class important especially for children? Teaching music to kids improves their social skills at an early age. Keeping students together in a band and allowing them to work together fosters better relationships within and outside their social circles. When they are kept in a band together, they learn to work as a team to achieve a common goal.
Kids learn the importance of teamwork, which is a crucial element of success in future. Kids generally are more selfish and self-centered. Signing them up to a band will introduce them to the virtues of keeping others’ needs before us, the benefits of sharing with others and how self-sacrifice makes us strong human beings.
Music classes build discipline and hard work in kids. Music lessons are not easy, especially when it comes to learning hard musical compositions. However, persistent practicing until the end goal is met teaches kids the value of hard work and not giving up. They get the rewards of their hard labor when they perform their music to a standing ovation. Music students are generally more disciplined than their nonmusical counterparts. Most of their energy and time are spent on constructive activities and chances of them misbehaving are significantly reduced. This is especially true for teenagers who are drawn towards drugs and sexual activities.
Now this is a deal breaker for parents who are opposed to music classes. Research shows that lessons in music improves learning in children. Literacy and musical abilities all
function from the same areas of the brain. Therefore, improving your child’s musical skills will automatically facilitate improvement in brain function that is crucial towards his/her literacy. It is due to this reason that kids with musical backgrounds have been known to have slightly higher IQs than their counterparts from non-musical backgrounds.
Another important aspect of musical lessons is that they facilitate faster language development, especially to the young ones. Abilities to decode sound and speech are naturally embedded in children’s minds. It is therefore up to them to tap into these abilities to be able to grasp languages. Although music lessons are not necessary for children to develop speech and listening abilities, they hasten the process. Music is a language that follows its own set of rules. Learning these rules will facilitate the child to be more perceptive and receptive of language structures. Musical training develops the left lobe of the brain that is associated with language development. It is due to this reason that musical experts are excellent speakers. Poor verbal skills will lead to limited career choices and the vice versa is also true.
In addition, music lessons facilitate memory mastery. Memory needs to be trained like any other part of the brain for it to be effective. We sometimes complain that our young ones have poor ability to remember. They are not abnormal, as some of us have been conditioned to believe. It is just that they have not mastered their memories well. Musical classes can help rectify that. By memorizing musical notes/rhythms, the part of the brain responsible for data retention is activated. With time, their brains will develop to a point that it will be easier for kids to save and easily retrieve or remember information when it is needed. Memory mastery is an integral part of their lives both personally and professionally.
Musical training also fosters critical and creative thinking. Although students start out reading musical notes from sheets of paper, eventually they branch out into individual compositions. Experimentation is a positive sign that parts of their brains responsible for creativity have developed. Critical and creative thinking are among the most important life skills that will prepare them to tackle challenges from all walks of life in future, not just in the musical sphere. Furthermore, this creative thinking will initiate a spirit of value addition to whatever they do, which will be extended to other areas of study.
Also, there is acquisition of fine motor skills associated with musical training. When a person plays an instruments, there are many parts of the body involved in the process. For instance, the eyes read the notes, the hands play the piano and the brain is responsible for the coordination of the whole process. This coordination makes the musician astute for motor related tasks. Furthermore, music makes the education experience worthwhile to many students. Most of the subjects adhere to strict curricula that make them boring to many students. Music on the other hand is much flexible, fun and accommodative of everyone’s creativities. Actually, to many students, music is what drives them out of bed to go to school.
To add on that, music improves their self-confidence. Students come from different backgrounds. Some of them come from stable families, while others come from troubled homes. Therefore, the latter students are more likely to be depressed and have self-confidence issues. Music classes have profound positive effects on these students. The positive vibe from both teachers and other students and the constant reminder that something good can come out of them is bound to build their self-worth, confidence and pride. Student musicians are also exposed to different cultures in music classes. Every song they are introduced to has a history behind it and its impact on its culture. As they learn about other cultures, these students will be more accommodative of other cultures. This will help reduce issues of racism and prejudice against foreign cultures.
Music is also a form of hobby for other students. Let us face the facts, not all students love hitting the tracks or mastering a script for a play or perusing through books in a library. Some actually love music and would love to pursue it as a career. Taking away the music lessons will be a final nail in the coffin for them. Playing music is a hobby like any other. It is fun, relaxing and gives them a break from the strenuous school life.
Lastly, music classes can instill the spirit of risk taking among students. Most subjects kill the spirit of innovation and risk taking. These lessons do not let the students think outside the box, but encourage them to be confined within what the teachers teach them. But, this approach to life is unrealistic. The world is very dynamic and changes with every rising sun. It is therefore a far-fetched idea to mold kids to avoid risks at all costs. Innovation and risk taking gave rise to all these great inventions that we see around us. Playing music takes away that fear and encourages student musicians to go out there and conquer the world. All the shyness or doubts they may have about their abilities is soon replaced by confidence. They will then move to bigger and harder tasks with their renewed confidence.
It is disheartening that many schools are pulling away from musical lessons, citing rising costs as the reason. However, the benefits of these lessons far outweigh the challenges. Most parents agree that music lessons should be integrated fully in all schools, regardless of the costs involved. It is ironic that schools are shutting down musical classes at a time when the music industry is one of the biggest on earth. Think about all the opportunities that aspiring musicians will be locked out from because they could not afford private musical lessons.
Costs should be the last thing on our minds when something is of great benefit to society. Even the brilliant Albert Einstein was a talented violinist. According to him, his brilliance stemmed from his passion in music. So, if the great Einstein saw the value of music, imagine the injustice we will be doing to our kids when we deny them lessons that may play a big role in unveiling their hidden brilliance.