There’s been an old myth that music can actually make children smarter — through programs like Baby Mozart and Baby Beethoven, parents are opening up the music world to children even before they are born.
There are many musical students out there that keep up with school work even though they practice many hours a day on their instrument, and still more are enjoying the benefits of playing a classical instrument.
How do they do it? Can children actually become smarter through music?
<Editor’s Note: This is a guest opinion blog by Emily Zheng, a student at Dana Middle School.>
Music teaches children and parents alike many skills and life lessons. Music itself develops an appreciation of music: children learn to listen and appreciate the sounds of classical music, are able to identify which period the music came from, and start to appreciate the hard work of professional musicians who dedicate over seven hours of their day, each day, to perform as well as they do now.
The instrument, on the other hand, provides technical skills unknown to children beforehand. Classical instruments are a challenge to play: first one must learn the fingering, then one must learn proper bowings, air speed, pressure, or the like to play notes as beautifully as possible, and then have to master clean, crisp technique and hand-eye coordination.
In addition, once a child mastered his or her piece, memorization provides a challenge to the brain. Once the child has to perform on stage, the child will also have to battle nervousness to play just as well as he or she did at home. From their very first competition, children start indirectly learning and growing in confidence. Constant competitions allow the child to develop outstanding stage presence, control of the nerves, and calmness.
Not only does music give all these benefits, but it also teaches subtle time-managing skills to children. Time must always be available in order to practice, and practices usually take an average of an hour or two. Music teaches children to manage time well: there should be at least a specific number of minutes for practicing technique, a piece must be played at least this many times in order to master it, and the like.
Another one of the most important aspects of music involves theory. Theory allows children to identify different periods of music; learn how to read and write chords, notes, scales, triads, and more; enhance their musical ability by learning the different styles of each period and composer, and more. Theory allows children to expand their knowledge of music and also allows them to expand their creativity through, possibly, composing.
Music provides intangible opportunities to those who get the amazing opportunity to use music to its full extent. From gaining life lessons such as gaining confidence, technique, wise time-management and appreciation to having a widespread knowledge of theory, music is beneficial to all those who learn it, even if one doesn’t realize it now. Music can make someone smarter… Just take advantage of the opportunity.