Your child is entering middle school, congratulations! So many choices to make – including what classes to take. By choosing a music class such as band or strings, you are making a decision that will benefit your child tremendously, not only in middle school, but throughout his or her school career, and even beyond. Here are just a few of the many research studies that will show you just how important studying music is!
- Students with one year of music participation show an 11% increase in academic performance, students with two years show an increase of 14%, students with three years show an increase of 17%, and students with four years of music participation show an average increase of 23%. Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, 2010.
- Students in music classes scored, on average, 50 to 100 points higher than students with no arts coursework. The difference in scores becomes more dramatic as the years of music participation increase. CEEB (College Entrance Examination Board), 2004.
- The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling – training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for selfknowledge and expression. John Ratey, MD, A User’s Guide to the Brain, 2001.
- Students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematical proficiency by grade 12. In addition, differences in mathematics proficiency between students consistently involved versus not involved in instrumental music grew significantly over time. Caterall, Chapleau and Iwanaga, UCLA, 1999.
- Music training does far more than allow us to entertain ourselves and others by playing an instrument or singing. Instead, it actually changes our brains. Actively working with musical sounds enhances neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and change. Scientists found that musical training has a profound impact on other skills including speech and language, memory and attention, and even the ability to convey emotions vocally. So what is it that musical training does? According to scientists, the findings strongly indicate it adds new neural connections — and that primes the brain for other forms of human communication. Nina Kraus, Northwestern University, 2010.
- Middle school students who study music significantly outperform their peers in algebra skills. While the link between music instruction and algebra achievement most likely lies in a combination of factors, the primary effect is a matter of enhanced brain development, researchers found. Middle-school music instruction ‘takes place during a time (age 10-12) in which a proliferation of new connections occur in the developing brain. These new synapses are formed and strengthened, at least in part, by musical activities that are undertaken during early adolescence. College of Notre Dame, MD, 2010.
- When teenagers were asked to express the life benefits of their music study, the most frequently mentioned skill was self-discipline, with students acknowledging that the hard work and dedication that are essential to participation in school music groups teach the valuable lesson that if ‘you stick with something and practice,’ the rewards will be many. Other students conceded that the concentration required for learning music and the process of memorizing music pieces had honed those skills in other areas of their schoolwork. Music was frequently described as a force for building one’s character, and many students expressed their belief that music was capable of directing them in shaping their broader sense of self, who they were becoming, and how they might succeed in the world. The students highlighted confidence, responsibility, compassion, pride, patience, and respect as aspects of their character they feel they owe, at least in part, to music. Campbell, Connell and Beegle, Journal of Research in Music Education, 2007.
Music will benefit your child in ways that no other academic subject will. Congratulations on choosing music for your child!