4 Ways Playing an Instrument Enhances Child Development

Tuesday May 9, 2017
By Natalie Wilson
Parenting Tips

Music is an excellent way to stimulate the brains of children. One of the best things about music is that it engages numerous areas of the brain simultaneously. The stimulating effect of music and it's universality, therefore, makes it an excellent educative tool.

Playing music is much more than simply enjoyable. It’s extremely important for brain development in children and has been shown to improve performance in other academic areas as well. Enrolling your child in a music-making program may have long-lasting developmental benefits. To that end, I’ve put together a list of 4 ways that playing an instrument can improve your child’s mind.

parenting tips - 4 ways playing an instrument enhances child development

 

1. Neural Processing

A study from Northwestern University found that children who played an instrument had better neural processing than students who simply listened to music. This demonstrates a need for active engagement in music creation. If you’re looking for ways to increase your child’s cognitive abilities, piano lessons may be a great start. Another study found that children who took piano lessons for one year and practiced consistently saw an increase in as many as three IQ points.

 

2. Reading

Learning to read is an extremely important part of every child’s development, and research shows that music may encourage and improve these abilities in learners. A study by the same researchers from Northwestern University found that early music engagement will lead to cognitive improvements in other areas of learning. Kraus and colleagues found that children who regularly attended music classes and actively participated in those classes better-processed speech and had higher reading scores than children who were not engaged in music class.

playing an instrument has been shown to improve a child's development
Playing an instrument has been shown to improve a child's development.

 

3. Time Management

Learning to play an instrument will also teach your child time management skills, which are valuable for all areas of life. If your child takes music lessons outside of school, he or she will need to learn how to balance multiple commitments all at once. This will prove to be invaluable and school becomes more demanding in the upper-grade levels. If your child is young and taking private music lessons outside of school, it is important to provide them with structure so that they don’t get overwhelmed and lose their interest in practicing. Be sure to help your child find a balance between music and school, and they’ll be sure the reap the benefits of these skills in the future. If you want to learn more about guitar lessons, follow this link.

 

4. Empathy and Expression

Your child’s ability to feel empathy will also be enhanced through musical engagement. Since music is one of the highest forms of expression, playing the pieces of other composers or artists will allow the budding musician to place themselves in the shoes of another person. Empathy is one of the most important things a child can learn during their development, so it’s important to encourage engagement with the arts early on.

Music will also assist with your child’s ability to express themselves. Music is one of the highest forms of human expression and can teach your child to share their ideas with others. If you want to encourage abstract thinking in your child’s developmental process, then getting them engaged with music and songwriting will likely open up their ability to communicate.

why not try playing music with your child?
Why not try playing music with your child?

 

If you’re wondering where to start, try a few of these activities:

Turn a story into a song

Using your child’s pre-existing interests and incorporating them into musical activities is an excellent way to encourage your child to express themselves musically. Children love stories, whether they come from storybooks, movies, or television shows. Try using your child’s favorite story to create a song your child can play on an instrument or sing along with.

 

Create a melody for each color

Children love visual art. Painting, coloring, drawing, and sculpting with clay are all activities children typically look forward to, so it’s useful to incorporate visual art into musical activities. If your child is learning an instrument, ask them to create a melody that reflects how they feel when they look at a certain color. This will achieve two things: First, your child will learn how to pay attention to their thoughts and feelings, and second, they will learn how to express these thoughts and feelings through their instrument.

 

That's a wrap!

Music is an excellent educative tool that is appreciated by children everywhere. Music engagement has been shown to increase neural processing abilities in children, as well as improve their performance in other academic areas, such as reading. Encouraging your child to engage with music is also an excellent way to teach time management and self-expression. Hopefully, you found the activities for musical expression listed above useful. Remember, you can also create musical activities catered towards the specific interests of your child. Doing so will help them connect with music even more, and the developmental benefits will be endless.


About the Author:

Natalie Wilson from Musical Advisors

Hi everyone!

I’m Natalie Wilson and I’m an avid music lover and guitar player who has dedicated my life to sharing what I know on my website. You’ll find a wide range of topics including reviews, tutorials, and tips for musicians.

Feel free to contact me at natalie.musicaladvisors@gmail.com.


Kumon can also help you understand where your child stands academically, figure out their learning priorities and establish the routine needed to succeed. Schedule a parent orientation session to find out more.