Yes, music is fun, and playing an instrument is a great skill to have all throughout your life, but there's even more benefit to music lessons than just proficiency on the keys or the strings, or on brasses and woodwinds.
At Westminster Arts Academy, we try to optimize how music builds our students’ life skills, and operate on the philosophy that recognizes how important and instructive music can be. Here are three general cognitive aspects that experts believe can be improved by music instruction.
Some scientists believe that music classes can improve verbal memory. Memory is going to be an important cognitive ability throughout every year of your child's life, so it makes sense to foster this early.
It's also been suggested that music classes can improve a student's general visual attention or the ability to find the signal within the noise, to filter out distractions and focus on core goals. Take a look at how this is described here at the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience:
“The term ‘visual attention’ refers to a set of cognitive operations that mediate the selection of relevant and the filtering out of irrelevant information from cluttered visual scenes. In everyday life, visual scenes typically contain more items than can be processed at any one time due to the limited processing capacity of the visual system. ‘Visual attention’ refers to the cognitive operations that allow us to efficiently deal with this capacity problem by selecting relevant information and by filtering out irrelevant information.”
Music, as a discipline, has been thought of as a way to promote the skills that lead to better visual attention.
“Pleasant music can improve visual attention in patients with unilateral neglect after stroke,” wrote participating scientists after a clinical trial. There’s the likelihood that your young student gets these same kinds of help from music classes.
At Westminster Arts Academy, we believe in a more well-rounded assessment of the student than just tying success to a child's intelligence quotient. However, there's a good case to be made that music instruction does raise the kinds of logical bars that leave your student ranking higher on various kinds of tests.
Along with all of these benefits, there's also the potential for creativity that comes with music. That's why we always counsel families not to go too hard toward classical training with no improvisation attached. This is especially important for younger learners – they need to be free to explore music as an open environment and not just tied to rote memorization.
Find out more about our lessons and opportunities on the web. We want to help your youngster to thrive!