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70 Benefits of Music Lessons

You have probably seen or heard about news stories that make various claims regarding the benefits of learning a musical instrument. I myself have read countless articles that document studies on the matter and elaborate on the many personal, social, physical, mental and academic benefits of music study. However, the articles typically focus on one particular area of interest, or list a small group of positive attributes in music students. My goal with this article is to list every benefit I have ever read about, or witnessed in myself and my students, that was a result of learning an instrument – specifically through private lessons.

For whom is this article primarily designed? Obviously, prospective students (and parents thereof) might be particularly interested in this information if they are on the fence about enrolling in music lessons. Similarly, current students/parents might find the information helpful if they are trying to decide whether or not to continue with lessons. However, this article is also for all the private music teachers (including myself) that experience challenging times with students that do not practice, seem completely uninterested in learning music, or just seem apathetic about life in general. We teachers truly make a difference in the lives of our students, often in ways that we cannot readily observe or define, and we need to remember that!

The items in the following list are not in order of importance. In fact, every student/parent will find some items more or less relevant to their own experience. The order is very loosely based on stages of life (young child-teen-adult-senior). As you will notice, most of the first items address young children and their development. Many of the middle items can apply to individuals of any age (especially teens and adults), while the items near the end are geared more toward older adults. Although it may appear as if some items are duplicated in the list, I believe each entry has its own separate meaning and value.

As a disclaimer, I am not asserting that the following benefits apply to every music student in every situation. Obviously, many factors, including the quality of instruction by the teacher and dedication of the student, need to be taken into consideration. However, I believe it's fair to say that, according to independent studies and observations by experts in various fields (including music teachers), in many cases learning an instrument through private lessons...

1) Accelerates overall brain development, activating almost all regions/networks of the brain

2) Contributes to language skills

3) Improves development of spatial intelligence

4) Teaches pattern recognition

5) Strengthens fine motor skills

6) Improves reading and comprehension skills

7) Fosters independent learning skills

8) Improves math skills

9) Strengthens general communication skills

10) Improves analytical thinking and problem-solving skills

11) Strengthens overall coordination

12) Sharpens concentration and ability to focus

13) Increases self-awareness

14) Develops creative thinking

15) Positively impacts overall emotional development

16) Benefits interpersonal skills and social skills in general

17) Improves auditory attention and general listening skills

18) Creates a sense of achievement

19) Sharpens attention to details, both aurally and visually

20) Builds initiative

21) Enhances critical thinking skills

22) Boosts self-esteem and confidence

23) Teaches responsibility

24) Helps organizational skills

25) Teaches accountability

26) Helps time management skills

27) Refines personal assessment skills

28) Positively impacts ability to bond with others

29) Encourages spontaneity

30) Positively impacts overall academic success, including standardized test scores

31) Teaches self-discipline

32) Promotes craftsmanship

33) Teaches how to overcome fear of failure

34) Improves attention span, possibly assisting those with A.D.D./A.D.H.D.

35) Fosters self-expression

36) Contributes to higher IQ

37) Teaches perseverance

38) Strengthens ability to process constructive criticism

39) Teaches patience

40) Improves ability to take direction from others

41) Prevents boredom that can lead to “unhealthy” activities or behavior

42) Impacts ability to interact one-on-one with an authority figure

43) Develops overall artistic sensibility

44) Enhances appreciation of all music by increasing overall understanding

45) Fosters emotional sensitivity and empathy

46) Enhances general performing abilities and may reduce feelings of self-consciousness

47) Strengthens ability to accept personal mistakes

48) Sharpens reaction skills

49) Enhances ability to recover from mistakes

50) Elevates physical and mental reaction time

51) Supplies a method for emotional self-discovery

52) Helps treat and prevent anxiety

53) Helps treat and prevent depression

54) Serves as a highly engaging distraction during difficult times

55) Provides a way to brighten the lives of others

56) Provides a healthy emotional outlet and a way to “express the inexpressible”

57) Increases overall enjoyment of life

58) Relives stress and provides a healthy, regular source of relaxation

59) Provides light exercise

60) Stimulates the brain, rewiring it and helping it to perform better

61) Improves memory

62) Provides physical feeling of joy through the release of dopamine in the brain

63) Strengthens the immune system

64) Lowers blood pressure

65) Increases blood flow to the brain

66) Helps prevent dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders

67) Enhances respiratory system (for trumpet students)

68) Elevates specific cognitive skills and the processing speed of the brain

69) Assists as a therapy for various medical disorders and injuries, even in the relief of physical pain

70) Oh yeah...helps if you want to pursue a career playing a musical instrument!


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