Thursday, October 28, 2010

This report is music to my ears...

The November 2010 issue of Scientific American has an article entitled "Hearing the Music, Honing the Mind." (Yes, we have a subscription to Scientific American. And no, I don't actually read it. I am grateful that my husband does--it leads to great discussions around the supper table.) You can read the article by clicking here

As a musician and former music teacher, this article will go into my "never throw away" file. It supports what I've been telling my kids for years: that all the piano, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, and fiddle lessons they have endured will benefit them for a lifetime. It states, "Music lessons can produce profound and lasting changes that enhance the general ability to learn." Apparently, neuroscientists have some new monitoring techniques which allow them to see into our brains.  They have found that studying an instrument from an early age can help the brain process sounds better. Musicians are better at concentrating during distractions, mentally attending to several things at once, and learning a new language. If my kids can focus better in science class because of years of piano study and learn how to play the piano, its a BIG win in my book.

When my oldest child was born almost 18 years ago, we received a classical music cd in the goodie bag we brought home from the hospital. (It was not the first classical music cd to be played in our home!) Mothers and fathers played classical music to their unborn babies and in their nurseries at night.  I completely embraced the idea that listening to music did something special to our brains and I had been taught about the "Mozart effect" in college. It turns out that studying music and practicing music has an even greater impact than just listening.

I always knew that I would have my kids take piano lessons and participate in band and/or chorus when they were in school. This new information makes me feel better about the years I have held my ground and not let my children quit piano lessons and drop out of band. I have also watched my kids process through various stages of enjoying their instruments, detesting their instruments, then enjoying them again, which motivates me to have them stick it out for the long haul. Eventually, they come around and stop asking me to let them quit--which is a true reward!  Music has been a wonderful part of my entire life. I hope that my children enjoy it for their whole lives as well. This study gives me peace of mind that even if some of my children won't admit to enjoying music, I can still claim that they have benefitted--after all, they have likely "enhanced their general ability to learn."

As I always say to the kids:
1. You'll thank me someday.
2. Parents have done way worse things to their kids than make them take piano lessons.

1 comment:

  1. How can I not comment? This a great article. I'm glad you shared it with us.