What are the benefits of learning music as a child?
Music is an integral part of the human experience. Music appears in every culture around the world. There are many benefits of music for people of all ages. But, when is the right time to start teaching your child and what instruments are a good choice for kids? Those questions and more are investigated here.
When to start music lessons
Children of any age can appreciate music. There are even some studies that suggest listening to music in the womb can help a baby’s brain development. Yet, listening to music and learning to play a musical instrument are two very different things.
Technically, children can learn to play music at any age, as long as the lessons are age-appropriate.
Learning music at a very young age, however, is mostly determined by the child. Like many aspects of child development—languages, new skills, etc.—the window for teaching a musical sensibility in children ends at puberty.
That fact does not mean that you should throw your kid into formal music lessons as a toddler. Instead, early music exposure needs to be informal. Kindermusik and other music programs for very young children focus on exposure and fun for a reason. You want your child’s early exposure to music to be as engaging as possible.
So, when should you begin formal music education? Again, this is somewhat determined by your unique child. They should at least be able to concentrate for an extended period. Most music lessons are 20-30 minutes long for beginners. If your child cannot focus for that length of time, then they are not yet ready for formal music lessons.
When your child can focus on the duration of the lesson and follow simple directions, you can consider putting them in music lessons. Usually, this will occur at between 5-7 years old, which is when most elementary schools also begin formal music classes as well.
What instruments are good for kids
The next decision you have to make is what instrument to begin your kid on. Some children make this decision easy. They may ask for lessons in a particular instrument or even be given one through school.
If your child has not asked to play a specific instrument, then you need to choose one for them. Here are a few of the most common choices.
The piano is by far the most popular instrument for children. Many people began learning music on the piano. Its eighty-eight keys provide a great visual aid for learning notes and reading music. Such a concrete representation of music is beneficial for children.
Because learning the piano is so popular, there are also a lot of places to find lessons where you can learn to play the piano for kids. Online or in-person teachers will not be hard to find. Here is a great resource for online piano lessons.
The biggest drawback of the piano is that it is a very large instrument. Even small upright pianos or electric pianos will take up room in your home. They will also likely cost more than other instruments.
Another very popular first instrument for kids is the violin. The violin is the smallest bowed string instrument. It is the easiest for small hands to hold and play. It comes in many sizes, so you can find the option that fits your child. You will need to resize the violin as your child grows.
There are many teachers available for the violin as well. Since it is such a popular school instrument, you will likely be able to find an instrument for rent, which will cut down on the cost.
It seems that everyone wants to play the guitar. It is just a cool instrument and could be one that your child asked to learn. The guitar is a versatile stringed instrument, but it lacks the bow that complicates the violin. Because it is less technical to learn, your child may be more likely to stick to it.
For young children, you may want to consider beginning with the ukulele. It is smaller and easier to play the form of the guitar. There are only four strings on a ukulele as opposed to six to twelve for a guitar. The smaller size of the ukulele may also be easier for your child to handle.
Here are some bonus facts about the benefits of learning music for children.
Is music beneficial to learning?
In a word: yes. Children who learn music have been shown to have higher test schools and greater academic ability overall. The study of music provides these learning benefits in multiple ways. By raising confidence, promoting discipline, increasing a child’s memory, music improves their learning experience.
A final reason that music increases a child’s learning ability is that it teaches them to perform multiple functions at once. Take for example the piano. When a child learns to play the piano, they train their brain to read the page and translate what they see into two separate hands. The left and right hand eventually function independently of each other, thus increasing a child’s ability to multi-task.
What benefits do children gain by studying music?
Many benefits of music go beyond just enhanced learning ability. A few of the benefits of music were discussed above. There are many others. These include.
- Increased creativity and confidence.
- Accelerates social development.
- Memory training.
- Increased emotional development.
- Better listening skills.
How does music affect a child’s brain?
Learning music provides many positive effects on a child’s development. All of these benefits are caused by the faster development that occurs in the brains of children who learn music.
A recent study found that when they learn music, children’s brains develop certain functions at a faster rate. Auditory development, for example, is accelerated in musician children. Greater auditory function leads to better language development, reading, and communication.
The benefits of music education should encourage any parent to begin lessons for their children. Listening to and discussing music in your home can also create life-long music lovers. Formal music education is not for every child. Online learning coupled with learning by ear is just as beneficial as a sit-down, physical lesson with a teacher.
The big takeaway is that music of any kind is beneficial for your child. Start them early, make it fun, and you will see the benefit in their physical, emotional, and academic lives.