Research is showing that giving children a musical education can help in many different aspects of life and learning. Music education should consist of listening, singing, and moving to have the highest benefit. When children play an instrument, it exercises many different muscle groups as well as visual and auditory skills.
Improved IQ Scores
A 2004 study found an increase in the IQ levels of six-year-olds that took weekly singing and piano lessons. To equalize bias, other control groups of six-year-olds were given drama lessons, while others were given no lessons. The children took IQ tests before entering first grade and again before entering second grade. The results showed that the children that had music lessons had an average of three points higher IQ than those in the other control groups. Those in the drama control group did not show an improvement in the IQ scores, but did show social and behavioral improvements.
Vocabulary and Language Advancement
Musical education has shown to have positive effects on the part of the brain responsible for language processing. This can be helpful with opening up new connections in the brain and linking new information. The relationship between the language mastery and musical education may be profound in many different areas, especially social development. Children that show verbal competency have shown to be more adept at handling social situations.
Increased Brain Function
Testing and research indicates that musicians that are playing an instrument utilize more of the brain than when not playing or than non-musicians. After receiving musical instruction, students showed improved fine motor skills and sound discrimination, which was reflected in brain scans. Over time, these areas continued to show more activity, even when not playing.
Better Musical Ability
While music may enhance a child’s IQ and have other benefits, the primary benefit is of course developing musical ability. Parents should encourage children’s performance at the musical skill that is being studied to reap the other benefits, placing more emphasis on the main focus. The experience will often foster a love of music and of learning about new things, which are both inherently valuable for more than intelligence benefits.