I don’t know whether music training ‘magically’ affects a child’s personality and intellect, I can confirm that there are some practical aspects that actually make them smarter
1. Better co-ordination: According to scientific studies, best exercises for a human being are those which involve co-ordination between hands, eyes and brain. Playing a musical instrument involves co-ordination of both the hands (sometimes all four limbs, like playing a drumkit), eyes and brain.
2. Better concentration: While performing music, a child has to fully concentrate on different aspects of a song, like note pitches, rhythm and lyrics.
3. Better Task orientation: I think the best skill a child can learn from music is ‘task orientation’. In music, even an average performance takes 100% preparation. As a performer, you are not allowed to make a single mistake. While preparing a song, children always have a very clear task- to prepare the song to its full length, without any mistake. This task alone makes them focused in their approach.
4. Better Confidence: Each time a child performs a piece of music, it gives them a sense of completion and achievement thus giving him a boost in his confidence. If he performs to an audience, the amount of confidence he gains is even greater.
5. Better imagination & creativity: While learning songs of different moods and content, children become more imaginative. Gradually, when they become better at music theory and technique, they start composing & writing songs.
6. Better mental health: Growing children, specially teenagers tend to be reserved and they need to channelize their emotions. If they are learning music, it becomes a medium to vent out their emotions. They can release their anger, pain or frustration through music.
Learning music can also channelize children’s excessive energy. It calms children who are hyperactive. Percussion Instruments like drum-kit are specially helpful in channelizing hyperactive kids’ energy.
7. Better discipline: Regular music lessons develop a good habit of discipline. I have always felt that after learning music for longer time, children develop a relationship with the instrument. From taking care of their instrument, regularly practicing, attending classes, doing assignments, preparing for music tests & performances to listening to their favorite music, they follow a certain kind of discipline, which is eventually evident in other areas as well.
8. Better team spirit: Music is a collaborative art. It’s always performed with other musicians. That’s why I do not support individual, one on one music- training. This is the reason I introduced group training at my institute Musicology. If taught properly in a group, children learn from each other. They can see their own shortcomings and they can acquire others’ strengths. Moreover, and most importantly- they learn to work with each other and respect each other, an indispensible skill to become successful in our modern society.
9. Better careers: College admissions administrators all over the world, including Harvard & Oxford continue to cite music education as an important factor in making admissions decisions. They claim that music participation demonstrates time management, creativity, expression, and open-mindedness.
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Copyright material. From Anurag Dixit’s book ‘Music makes kids smarter’. No part of this article may be produced in any form or by any means.
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