Benefits for Children

In Newsweek magazine's February 19, 1996, cover story, "Your Child's Brain" it quoted from research done by Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher at University of California at Irvine showing that music education increases a child's learning ability. The big bottom line is this: Teach kids music, and they'll be better at math.

Scientific studies show that active music making (NOT passive music listening) correlates with:

  • Increased spatial-temporal reasoning and better math scores
  • Better reading ability
  • Lower incidence of drug use and antisocial behavior
  • Increased wellness
Did You Know?
Music study can help kids understand advanced music concepts. A grasp of proportional math and fractions is a prerequisite to math at higher levels, and children who do not master these areas cannot understand more advanced math critical to high-tech fields. Music involves ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. Second-grade students were given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time using newly designed math software. The group scored over 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who used only the math software. Source: Neurological Research March, 1999

Did You Know?
A McGill University study found that pattern recognition and mental representation scores improved significantly for students given piano instruction over a three-year period. They also found that self-esteem and musical skills measures improved for the students given piano instruction. Source: Dr. Eugenia Costa-Giomi, "The McGill Piano Project: Effects of three years of piano instruction on children's cognitive abilities, academic achievement, and self-esteem," presented at the meeting of the Music Educators National Conference, Phoenix, AZ, April, 1998

DSC_2304Did You Know?
Research shows that piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts. A group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others ‹ even those who received computer training. "Spatial-temporal" is basically proportional reasoning - ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. This concept has long been considered a major obstacle in the teaching of elementary math and science.
Source: Neurological Research February 28, 1997

In one particular study conducted by Dr. Frances Rauscher (a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh) and Gordon Shaw (a physicist at of the University of California at Irvine) testeing preschoolers who received piano instruction. They found that preschoolers who received piano lessons scored 34% higher than their nonmusical counterparts in tests measuring spatial-temporal reasoning, which is the brain function used to understand math, science and engineering.

Did You Know?
Piano lessons increased eye-hand coordination is almost a given for children that learn to play the piano, but there is more than that. Kids who play the piano have improved fine motor skills and, unlike other instruments, the piano requires both hands to work independently of each other, one moving fast while the other may be moving at a slower rate. All of these things help to increase a child's overall dexterity and complex thought processes.

Did You Know?
Piano lessons help children to concentrate. Reading a piece of music takes a great deal of focus, causing a child to interpret a note and a rhythm, translate it into hand movements on the keyboard and then immediately go on to the next one. Reading and playing music allows them to think both critically and creatively, which is a skill that will assist them in anything they choose to undertake in the future.

Did You Know?
Piano lessons help children to be well-rounded. Regardless of whether a child plays the piano for a short time or for a lifetime, the long-term affects of their piano pursuance are many. Through playing the piano, children are exposed to classical music that they may otherwise have never heard. Kids may develop an appreciation for composers like Bach or Mozart that stay with them for life. In addition, the skills and knowledge they learn in piano may help them easily pick up another musical instrument later.

Self-esteem. It means pride, self-respect, dignity and confidence. Some people have it and some people don't. Why? No one knows for sure. But self esteem seems to be a combination of hard work, challenging oneself and looking at the bright side of things.

One of the best ways for a child to reap the rewards of self-esteem is by learning to play the piano. Taking piano lessons at an early age is a tremendous confidence builder. What other form of "exercise" allows a child to challenge himself or herself to the fullest by reading two lines of music, while simultaneously using both ears, arms, legs, feet, and all ten fingers. Once a child puts the energy into playing the piano, he or she starts to notice results, and begins to develop a new found confidence in completing tasks.

There are many ways that a child can develop a healthy sense of self. Encouragement and a positive attitude are of great help. These are traits that a music teacher can truly bring out in a student. Piano teachers know that "constructive criticism" and praise go a long way in helping a child feel good about what he or she has accomplished. Few children will become concert pianists. But virtually every one who takes piano lessons will benefit from increased concentration, coordination, and self-esteem.

Children who learn piano are more likely to have feelings of self worth because they are constantly challenging themselves. Sure, they may fail along the way. But as long as they're moving forward, trying to improve their abilities, they'll succeed in many ways that go beyond just learning to play music.

True self-esteem develops when a child not only learns something, but feels that he or she has a mastery over the subject. Even if a child can't play a piece of music to perfection, as long as he feels he's completed a tough assignment, he'll have the confidence to move on and try new things.

A child won't instantly develop self-esteem just by sitting down at a piano. It takes time and hard work. But the benefits that carry over from learning piano - better concentration in school work, improved interaction with peers and a feeling of self worth all help a child to keep his grades and his head up high.