The Benefits of Music Education

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By Laura Lewis Brown – Original Article Appears HERE

Whether your child is the next Beyonce or more likely to sing her solos in the shower, she is bound to benefit from some form of music education. Research shows that learning the do-re-mis can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs.

More Than Just Music
Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. “A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-for-profit association that promotes the benefits of making music.

Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously. For instance, people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles, says Kenneth Guilmartin, cofounder of Music Together, an early childhood music development program for infants through kindergarteners that involves parents or caregivers in the classes.

“Music learning supports all learning. Not that Mozart makes you smarter, but it’s a very integrating, stimulating pastime or activity,” Guilmartin says.

Language Development
“When you look at children ages two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development, which is so important at that stage,” says Luehrisen. While children come into the world ready to decode sounds and words, music education helps enhance those natural abilities. “Growing up in a musically rich environment is often advantageous for children’s language development,” she says. But Luehrisen adds that those inborn capacities need to be “reinforced, practiced, celebrated,” which can be done at home or in a more formal music education setting.

According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds,” the group claims.

This relationship between music and language development is also socially advantageous to young children. “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician. “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”

Increased IQ
A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in a 2004 issue of Psychological Science, found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons. Schellenberg provided nine months of piano and voice lessons to a dozen six-year-olds, drama lessons (to see if exposure to arts in general versus just music had an effect) to a second group of six-year-olds, and no lessons to a third group. The children’s IQs were tested before entering the first grade, then again before entering the second grade.

Surprisingly, the children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups. The drama group didn’t have the same increase in IQ, but did experience increased social behavior benefits not seen in the music-only group.

The Brain Works Harder
Research indicates the brain of a musician, even a young one, works differently than that of a nonmusician. “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years.

In fact, a study led by Ellen Winner, professor of psychology at Boston College, and Gottfried Schlaug, professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, found changes in the brain images of children who underwent 15 months of weekly music instruction and practice. The students in the study who received music instruction had improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks, and brain imaging showed changes to the networks in the brain associated with those abilities, according to the Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research.

Spatial-Temporal Skills
Research has also found a causal link between music and spatial intelligence, which means that understanding music can help children visualize various elements that should go together, like they would do when solving a math problem.

“We have some pretty good data that music instruction does reliably improve spatial-temporal skills in children over time,” explains Pruett, who helped found the Performing Arts Medicine Association. These skills come into play in solving multistep problems one would encounter in architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming, and especially working with computers.

Improved Test Scores
A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts. Johnson compares the concentration that music training requires to the focus needed to perform well on a standardized test.

Aside from test score results, Johnson’s study highlights the positive effects that a quality music education can have on a young child’s success. Luehrisen explains this psychological phenomenon in two sentences: “Schools that have rigorous programs and high-quality music and arts teachers probably have high-quality teachers in other areas. If you have an environment where there are a lot of people doing creative, smart, great things, joyful things, even people who aren’t doing that have a tendency to go up and do better.”

And it doesn’t end there: along with better performance results on concentration-based tasks, music training can help with basic memory recall. “Formal training in music is also associated with other cognitive strengths such as verbal recall proficiency,” Pruett says. “People who have had formal musical training tend to be pretty good at remembering verbal information stored in memory.”

Being Musical
Music can improve your child’ abilities in learning and other nonmusic tasks, but it’s important to understand that music does not make one smarter. As Pruett explains, the many intrinsic benefits to music education include being disciplined, learning a skill, being part of the music world, managing performance, being part of something you can be proud of, and even struggling with a less than perfect teacher.

“It’s important not to oversell how smart music can make you,” Pruett says. “Music makes your kid interesting and happy, and smart will come later. It enriches his or her appetite for things that bring you pleasure and for the friends you meet.”
While parents may hope that enrolling their child in a music program will make her a better student, the primary reasons to provide your child with a musical education should be to help them become more musical, to appreciate all aspects of music, and to respect the process of learning an instrument or learning to sing, which is valuable on its own merit.

“There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake,” Rasmussen says. “The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music,” he adds. “Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”

Give the Music Academy of WNC a call at 828-693-3726 to set up your FREE Consultation and discuss your musical direction.

Guitar Workshop – “Unlocking the Diatonic Modes” on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.

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The Music Academy of WNC, located at 235 Duncan Hill Road in Hendersonville, North Carolina, is offering a guitar workshop for intermediate and advanced guitar players entitled “Unlocking the Diatonic Modes” on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. Class size is limited so register online at HERE or call 828-693-3726. See class description below for more information.

“Unlocking the Diatonic Modes” Guitar Workshop (Intermediate to Advanced Guitar Players). This workshop is for intermediate to advanced guitar players and will cover the seven diatonic modes and their applications over chords and common progressions. Workshop topics include: the seven diatonic left-hand patterns; modal identification over various chords and progressions; modal patterns across the entire fretboard; modal theory; fretboard theory; and MUCH MORE! The workshop will meet on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 9:00 AM — 12:00 Noon. Workshop is taught by Mike Ridenour (M.M. Guitar Performance). Workshop materials are included in tuition price. Tuition: $30.00.

Five Ways Piano Lessons Benefit Children

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Give us a call at 828-693-3726 and set up a FREE Consultation to discuss piano lessons for you or your child.

Original article appears HERE.

Two years ago, my wife and I started our oldest daughter, then six years old, in piano lessons. Both of us being musically oriented, we feel that music instruction is just as important as enrolling her in soccer, gymnastics or ballet.

But, when practice begins and the sound of scales badly played reverberates through the house, I began to wonder what was I thinking? Beyond the general discomfort of the first couple of years what are the benefits children receive from piano lessons?

Actually, there are many beneficial attributes children acquire from learning to tickle the ivory; the following are five of the most prevalent:

  1. Piano Lessons Help Children in School

The most talked about benefit children receive from piano lessons is that it also helps with their school lessons. Numerous studies available show children who play an instrument, score higher on both standard and spatial cognitive development tests alike. There are also findings that show kids who play piano, in particular, scored higher in math, especially on problems dealing with ratios and fractions.

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) tested 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.

  1. Piano Lessons Raise Self Esteem

Learning to play the piano is hard work and takes dedication. Not only does each song mastered increase a child’s self-esteem, but showcasing their newly learned talents at piano recitals can boost their self esteem as much as winning a game in a sports competition.

Lessons also help kids to learn how to keep a positive outlook when facing difficult tasks. The understanding that mastering a new skill is a process that requires patience helps children to approach tasks with confidence, and not become discouraged or frustrated.

  1. Piano Lessons Increase Coordination

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 effects 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.

So, as I sit and listen to my little one, pounding painfully away on the black and whites, all I have to do is remember that as she continues to practice, she’ll be creating a great deal more than a few simple melodies, which is truly music to my ears.

References

Foundation for Universal Music Literacy Research Materials. How Music Can Dramatically Effect Your Child’s Development and Life-Time Success. 18 Oct. 2005.

Pianonet.com. Benefits of Playing the Piano. [2005] 18 Oct. 2005.

Pianonet.com. Discover Pianonet: Learn to Play. [2005] 18 Oct. 2005.

Begley, Sharon. Pianoiseasy.com. Music on the Mind. [2000] 18 Oct. 2005.

West Music. The Piano and Child Development. 18 Oct. 2005.

Essortment.com. Benefits of piano lessons for a beginner. [2002] 18 Oct. 2005.

20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools

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Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.

1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.

2. A mastery of memorization: Even when performing with sheet music, student musicians are constantly using their memory to perform. The skill of memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.

3. Students learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

4. Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Just like playing sports, children can develop motor skills when playing music.

5. A sense of achievement: Learning to play pieces of music on a new instrument can be a challenging, but achievable goal. Students who master even the smallest goal in music will be able to feel proud of their achievement.

6. Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

7. Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.

8. Emotional development: Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures They also tend to have higher self esteem and are better at coping with anxiety.

9. Students learn pattern recognition: Children can develop their math and pattern-recognition skills with the help of musical education. Playing music offers repetition in a fun format.

10. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.

11. Fine-tuned auditory skills: Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.

12. Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination.

13. Music can be relaxing: Students can fight stress by learning to play music. Soothing music is especially helpful in helping kids relax.

14. Musical instruments can teach discipline: Kids who learn to play an instrument can learn a valuable lesson in discipline. They will have to set time aside to practice and rise to the challenge of learning with discipline to master playing their instrument.

15. Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.

16. Development in creative thinking: Kids who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems by thinking outside the box and realizing that there may be more than one right answer.

17. Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

18. Kids can learn teamwork: Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie.

19. Responsible risk-taking: Performing a musical piece can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches kids how to take risks and deal with fear, which will help them become successful and reach their potential.

20. Better self-confidence: With encouragement from teachers and parents, students playing a musical instrument can build pride and confidence. Musical education is also likely to develop better communication for students.

This article originally appeared on Bachelor’s Degree

HAPPY NEW YEAR! New Students Save 20% Through January 9, 2016

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Happy New Year! Check out our 20% off first month tuition promotion for new students through January 9, 2016. Click HERE or give us a call at 828-693-3726 and register for music lessons TODAY!

NEW Students Take 20% Off First Month Through January 9, 2016!

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All NEW Students Receive 20% Off Their First Month of Music Lessons Through January 9, 2016. Come study with the BEST music faculty in Hendersonville. We have hundreds of students currently enrolled and have served thousands of families since 1997.

We offer lessons in: Guitar (electric, classical , acoustic); Bass (Electric & Upright); Drum Set & Percussion; Piano; Voice; Violin; Viola; Cello; All Woodwind and Brass Instruments. We also offer ensemble, workshop, and summer camp opportunities.

Come experience the #1 Choice, Best Value, and LARGEST Music School in Henderson County. Limited time slots available so give us a call at 828-693-3726 or visit http://wncmusicacademy.com/gift-certificates to purchase your first month’s lesson savings TODAY!

Guitar Players’ Brains are Especially Intuitive, According to Science – December 7, 2015

Guitar Players’ Brains are Especially Intuitive, According to Science

Playing the guitar requires hand-eye coordination, creativity, memory, intuition, improvisation, and countless other functions of the brain. Anyone who has ever tried learning the guitar knows just how difficult it can be, and even professional players struggle sometimes. It seems that common bond goes beyond the frustrations of playing, however. In fact, according to a scientific study, all guitar players’ brains share a special chemistry.

One of the findings concluded that guitar players have the ability to “sync” their brains, and essentially read each others’ minds while playing and even anticipate what is to come. This all has to do with neural networks and brain chemistry, which explains the phenomenon of a band seemingly being a single functioning unit, and perhaps even makes it clear why there are so many successful bands made up of family members. In other words, the closer the brain chemsitry, the better the band chemistry.

Another common conclusion from one of the studies is that guitar players happen to be more intuitive than most and thus have exceptional improvisational skills.

According to Mic.com, researchers found that “when a guitarist shreds, he or she temporarily deactivates the brain region that routinely shuts down when achieving big-picture goals, signaling a shift from conscious to unconscious thought. And when mere mortals (non-musicians) attempt a solo, the conscious portion of their brain stays on, which indicates that real guitarists are able to switch to this more creative and less practical mode of thinking more easily.”

It seems obvious that musicians are more artistic, right-brained people, but these studies show just how special guitar players are in particular. According to a Vanderbilt study, guitar players are better than other musicians at understanding a song via observation or listening than just reading the sheet music.

In the end, it all happens in the brain, but for guitar players, it seems their brains are just a little different. As if we didn’t already know!

LAST Week For Black Friday Deals On Music Lessons. Sale Ends December 5, 2015

Back Friday Deals on Music Lessons

LAST WEEK FOR BLACK FRIDAY DEALS!  SAVE UP TO 50% on select music lesson packages during our BIGGEST Sale of the Year!  Check out our Black Friday Deals for the holidays through December 5, 2015.  New students can select from guitar, bass, drums, piano, voice, violin, viola, cello, brass, and woodwind instruments.  Purchase online or give us a call at 828-693-3726.