Talk about music to a parent’s ears. In an era when so many kids are struggling with anxiety and academic performance, it turns out music is to kids what spinach is to Popeye.
In fact, just listening to music with your kids builds stronger family bonds. It also should be noted that learning an instrument pays much bigger dividends than kids simply learning to sing. Toss in movement (aka being a part of the marching band) and your child basically becomes a superhero (and everyone knows the band has more fun at games).
So what makes music such a superfood for young minds?
Peace of Mind
Numerous studies have demonstrated that – whether you’re 90, 19, or 9 – playing a musical instrument leads to decreased anxiety, improved communication skills, stronger mental health, greater intimacy with others, and improved cognitive function.
A five-year study by USC’s Brain Creativity Institute revealed that kids who play music dramatically outpace their counterparts in language development, reading skills, speech perception, and processing sound.
Kids who learn music take their language development skills to a whole new level. MRI scans reveal that the left side of the brain, where language processing and sensory perception takes place, shows demonstrable changes courtesy music lessons.
Childhood – particularly adolescence – can be painfully awkward. Learning music helps ease those pains by providing kids with a creative outlet for self-expression. It also builds strong friendships, a sense of teamwork (much like team sports), and a sense of belonging.
So mom and dad, if you want to help your child avoid today’s twin plagues of childhood anxiety and academic struggles, consider music lessons. Yes, listening to your child torture a cello or trumpet may be temporarily painful to you and the rest of the family, but it’s safe to say the benefits outweigh the discomfort.