The Benefits of Music Making

On a weekly basis, many of us in the music education business hear non-musical adults tell us “they wish their parents had given them the opportunity to learn to play.” While a very select few of those adults DO in fact learn to play at a later age, it’s undeniable that learning to play an instrument with peers in the structured school format is the most effective (and cost effective) way and time of their lives for people to learn this skill. Kids who are given the opportunity during this limited window of time (elementary/middle school) have a far greater advantage than later in life starters, and will most likely succeed in learning this valuable life skill.

Most people who have ever played a musical instrument would agree that learning to play is an enjoyable activity, but what some adults don’t realize are the tremendous educational benefits of learning to play, for both musical AND nonmusical subjects. It has been proven time and time again that children who participate in music making typically perform better in math, develop better cognitive and motor skills, are more creative, score higher on standardized tests, and develop better social skills. Prospective employers recognize this as well, noting that hires who have played music tend to be better problem solvers and integrate better in team environments. That’s why we like to say “Making Music makes you Smarter!”

Students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.
— (2017). Why Music Education Matters; quoted in the Phoenix Symphony, February 6, 2017.

The College Entrance Examination Board found that students involved in public school music programs scored 107 points higher on the SAT’s than students with no participation.
— Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by the Music Educators National Conference (2002)

“Music education is so important for kids. Obviously, it helps them learn about music, but it also develops their creativity. The students learn to work together as a group. There are so many life lessons that can be taught through music.”
— Karen Fairchild, Little Big Town, quoted in”Little Big Town Surprises a High School Choir to Promote Music Education,” by Steve Helling, People, January 21, 2017

Seven in ten Americans (71%) say that the learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers.
— July 2014 Harris Poll

Two-thirds (67%) of Americans say music education provides people with a disciplined approach to solving problems.
— July 2014 Harris Poll

Adults age 60 to 85 without previous musical experience exhibited improved processing speed and memory after just three months of weekly 30-minute piano lessons and three hours a week of practice, whereas the control group showed no changes in these abilities.
— Nina Kraus, Samira Anderson,”Music Training: An Antidote for Aging?” Hearing Journal, Vol. 66, No. 3, March 2013.