Singing isn't just fun.
Singing can be collegiately rewarding. I've helped prepare students for recordings to be submitted as a supplement with their college applications. This can be the difference between acceptance with scholarship and rejection. Subsequently, there are many competitions specifically for young singers. These competitions often offer grants, scholarships, cash, or selected prestigious opportunities.
“If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken away from them.” - Luciano Pavarotti
Why Study Music? Studies Showing Amazing Benefits of Music
Einstein once said that had he not been a scientist, he would have been a musician. "Life without playing music is inconceivable for me," he declared. "I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get most joy in life out of music."
Plato, Aristotle, Boethius, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, René Descartes, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Stephen Hawkin — What do all of these great men have in common? They were all were musicians.
Coincidence? Certainly not. Years of scientific studies are proving what many of us have known all along: Music education makes smarter, more successful students that grow up to be more productive adults.
Several studies by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is based at Brown University, explored the effects of art and music education on young children’s learning. The conclusions of these studies support the theory that music instruction can help build intellectual and emotional skills, facilitate children’s learning and strengthen other academic areas, such as reading and math. Also, these studies indicate that music can positively affect children and adults of all ages.
The conclusions of these Brown University studies are consistent with other research on music and its effect on child development. One study (by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and the University of California) shows that when three and four-year-old children were given simple piano lessons over a six-month period, they performed 34% better than other children in IQ tests, some of whom had had computer lessons instead. These impressive results came from a study of 789 children from diverse social and economic backgrounds.
In an interview, one of the researchers from the University of California said: “Music training jump starts certain inherent patterns in parts of the brain responsible for spatial-temporal reasoning.” Computer lessons, on the other hand, do not force children to think ahead or visualize, as they must when playing a piece of music.
Several studies indicate that the reading level of students with one year of music was nearly one grade higher than their peers without such music training. Children with two years of music experience had scores equivalent to two years ahead of their reading age, and these statistics improved with music experience.
15 reasons to study music
1. Develop a Valuable Musical Talent
Shinichi Suzuki, the “grandfather” of child music education and creator of the world-renown “Suzuki method” strongly advocated that children are not born with musical talents, but rather they are developed just like learning a native language through early-age training. By giving your child voice lessons, you will be giving the gift singing and music appreciation that will become a valuable and cherished asset for a lifetime as a medium for satisfying personal achievement and entertainment.
2. Build Self-Esteem
In addition to the morale that the student gains from working diligently at a skill and succeeding, the positive individual attention given in private and small-group lessons and parent practice sessions fosters self-esteem and self-worth in the student by showing them that they are worthy of personal attention and that others believe in their success.
3. Learn Study Skills
In the course of singing lessons, students learn many study and memorization skills that easily transfer over to other subject areas to help them succeed in school and life. Studying music will help students discover their own best individual learning styles, giving them a head start on the independent learning skills they will need in more advanced academics.
4. Learn Focus
Regular voice lessons and practice sessions help students develop advanced levels of concentration, determination, self-discipline and responsibility to regularly practice and work at skills to reach near and far-distant goals. These are the rare personality traits that more than any else will ensure success in all other areas of life.
5. Increase Brain Function
Many studies have shown that music instruction helps students develop advanced complex hand-eye, hand-to-hand and right-left brain coordination that greatly increases their ability for multi-task and complex brain activity, spatial cognition and fine motor skilled activities such as typing and writing. Many of the world’s greatest minds were honed by their classical music playing and education.
6. Increase Mathematical Skills
Music instruction helps students develop practical science and mathematical skills such as counting, pattern recognition and recall, geometry, ratios and proportions, fractions, sequences, time keeping and pacing, acoustics, etc.
7. Build Character
Students who study classical music develop stronger moral character, are much more likely to score high in their classes and standardized tests, and much less likely to engage in substance abuse or criminal behavior.
8. Increase Intelligence
Children who take private piano or voice lessons develop higher IQ scores than those who do not. (Forbes)
9. Increase Listening Skills
Trained musicians are much better at discerning subtle speech inflections and thereby “reading between the lines” of what a person says than those without musical training. (Fox News: Live Science)
10. Improve Speaking and Communication
Singing lessons has also been shown to cause significant improvement of the quality of the speaking voice including improving clarity, tone, diction, and expression. Singing students also work on improving their facial and body expression, eye contact and confidence, and become accustomed to singing in foreign languages.
11. Develop Presentation and Leadership Skills
Face-to-face performance training and experience gained from singing lessons teach children strategies for preparing and confidently delivering presentations in front of strangers, peers and critics. Poise and confidence in front of others fosters leadership and social skills.
12. Develop Creativity and Artistic Awareness
Creativity and ability to “think outside the box” have been praised as important characteristics of successful professionals in all areas. Singing lessons help children develop and use their creativity and artistic skills in a structured, universally-appreciated way. As students are pushed to conform and “put away childish things” as thy get older, singing and music will remain a legitimate and appreciated medium to keep their creative mind and open outlook alive.
13. Connect with Others Through Music
Music has often been called a “universal language” for it’s incredible ability to transcend language, cultural and time constraints to communicate thoughts, ideas, emotions and impressions. Learning the “language” of fine music opens the door to an endless library of musical stories, portraits, essays, manifestos and poetry that has provided inspiration for centuries to our world’s greatest minds. More than any other medium, vocal music excels in communicating to and touching the souls of men and women and is a manifestation of humanity’s collective conscience and social heritage.
14. Express Yourself Through Music
Learning to sing opens a new and deeply powerful medium of emotional education and expression as the child learns to “give voice” to the emotions of the composers and their own. When the student participates in the production of quality music and really understands and connects with it, the intellect and the emotion are profoundly stimulated and the student comes away from the experience with an enriched and more meaningful life.
15. Heal Yourself With Music
Music has long been a considered soothing and healing practice. While not all popular music available today can be said to contribute to peace of mind and body, studies have shown that Classical and modern art music helps in a number of ways including lowering blood pressure, soothing stress and chronic pain, and promoting healthy breathing. Fine Music gives the student a forum to cope with life’s challenging emotions and promotes healthy and balanced thought and body. (Music Therapy as a medical treatment is a legitimate and growing profession used for improving the quality of life of people on all levels, improving social skills and treating a variety of conditions from physical and speech disorders to depression, behavior problems and psychiatric conditions.)
Here are some of the studies supporting the incredible benefits of music:
Spatial-Temporal IQ — Researchers found that children given piano lessons improved 56% more in their spatial-temporal IQ scores than children who received computer lessons or no lessons. - Rauscher, Shaw, Levine, Ky and Wright, “Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship,” University of California, Irvine, 1994.
Higher SAT Scores — Students with experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT than students with no music education: 53 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math for music performance; 61 points higher on the verbal and 42 points higher on the math for music appreciation. College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. The College Entrance Examination Board, Princeton, NJ, 2001
Highest Grades - Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non- participants receiving those grades. - NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington DC
Higher Test Scores - A ten-year study indicates that students who study music achieve higher test scores, regardless of socioeconomic background. - Dr. James Catterall, UCLA.
Higher Reading Scores - In a Scottish study, one group of elementary students received musical training, while another other group received an equal amount of discussion skills training. After six (6) months, the students in the music group achieved a significant increase in reading test scores, while the reading test scores of the discussion skills group did not change. – Sheila Douglas and Peter Willatts, Journal of Research in Reading, 1994.
Better Behavior - In a 2000 survey, 73 percent of respondents agree that teens who play an instrument are less likely to have discipline problems. – Americans Love Making Music – And Value Music Education More Highly Than Ever, American Music Conference, 2000.
Lowest Crime – Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. Reported in Houston Chronicle, January 1998
Better Organized - Students who are rhythmically skilled also tend to better plan, sequence, and coordinate actions in their daily lives. – “Cassily Column,” TCAMS Professional Resource Center, 2000.
Problem Solvers - Students who can perform complex rhythms can also make faster and more precise corrections in many academic and physical situations, according to the Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills. – Rhythm seen as key to music’s evolutionary role in human intellectual development, Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills, 2000.
Less Anxiety - Music students demonstrate less test anxiety and performance anxiety than students who do not study music. – “College-Age Musicians Emotionally Healthier than Non-Musician Counterparts,” Houston Chronicle, 1998.
Most Med Students - Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. 44% of biochemistry majors were admitted. As reported in “The Case for Music in the Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994
“Music making makes the elderly healthier…. There were significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and loneliness following keyboard lessons. These are factors that are critical in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system, and in improved health. Results also show significant increases in human growth hormones following the same group keyboard lessons. (Human growth hormone is implicated in aches and pains.)” Dr. Frederick Tims, reported in AMC Music News, June 2, 1999
Exercises Brain - Scientists have found that music involves the left, right, front, and back portions of the brain. –Donald Hodges, “Neuromusical Research.” Handbook of Music Psychology (San Antonio: IMR Press, 1996).
Boosts Productivity - Music can boost productivity in the workplace. Businesses like AT&T, DuPont, and Equitable Life Insurance have cut training time in half, increased output, and raised efficiency with creative music programs. -Business Music: A Performance Tool for the Office/Workplace (Seattle: Muzak, 1991).
Lowers temp, blood pressure, etc - Music can affect body temperature because of its influence on blood circulation, pulse rate, breathing, and sweating. Transcendent music and loud music can raise our body heat a few degrees, while soft music with a weak beat can lower it. – Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect (New York: Avon Books, 1997), 70-71.
Prevents Disease - Researchers at Michigan State University concluded that listening to one’s “preferred” music may elicit a profound positive emotional experience that can trigger the release of hormones which can contribute to a lessening of those factors which enhance the disease process. – Dale Bartlett, Donald Kaufman, and Roger Smeltekop, “The Effects of Music Listening and Perceived Sensory Experiences on the Immune System as Measured by lnterleukin-1 and Cortisol,” Journal of Music Therapy 30 (1993): 194-209.
Calming - The city of Edmonton, Canada, pipes in Mozart string quartets in the city squares to calm pedestrian traffic, and, as a result, drug dealings have lessened. – “Music-Let’s Split,” Newsweek, 1990.
Relieves Pain - Doctors in the coronary care unit of Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore report that a half an hour of listening to classical music produced the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium. – Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Schroeder with Nancy Ostrander, Superlearning 2000 (New York: Delacorte Press, 1994), 76.
Reduces Migraines - Music can help migraine sufferers reduce the intensity, frequency, and duration of the headaches. – Paul Chance, “Music Hath Charms to Soothe a Throbbing Head,” Psychology Today, February 1987, p. 14.
Heals, Restructures - In recovery wards and rehabilitation clinics, music is widely used to restructure and “repattern” repetitive movements following accidents and illness. – Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect (New York: Avon Books, 1997), 69.
Helps Alzheimers Patients - Music therapists working with Alzheimer’s patients have found that rhythmic interaction or listening to music has resulted in decreased agitation, increased focus and concentration, enhanced ability to respond verbally and behaviorally, elimination of demented speech, improved ability to respond to questions, and better social interaction. – Carol Prickett and Randall Moore, “The Use of Music to Aid Memory of Alzheimer’s Patients,” Journal of Music Therapy 28 (1991).
Helps Stroke Patients - Researchers in Colorado found that stroke patients who were given rhythmic auditory stimulation a half hour a day for three weeks had improved cadence, stride, and foot placement compared with a control group. -Marwick, “Leaving Concert Hall for Clinic.” In The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell. (New York: Avon Books, 1997), 273.
Stroke Victims - In a French study, the use of melodies was shown to stimulate speech recovery in stroke victims. – Neurology, December, 1996.
Lessens Depression, Loneliness - In a 1998 study, retirees who participated in group keyboard lessons reported decreased anxiety, decreased depression, and decreased loneliness when compared to a control group. – Scientific Study Indicates That Making Music Makes the Elderly Healthier, American Music Conference, 1998.
Live Longer - People who participate in the arts live longer than others, according to a Swedish study. – British Medical Journal, 1996.
Benefits of Music Education (Children’s Music Workshop)