The importance of music programs in schools has been debated across the globe for decades. As budgets are trimmed and school music programs are cut, there is an ever-increasing need to answer the looming question: does music education matter? I believe that the answer is, unequivocally, yes.

From a personal standpoint, music immersion has had a massive impact on my life.  My introduction to music began when I chose to play the coronet at the age of 9.  After falling in love with the coronet, I then began playing the piano at age 11, strumming the guitar at age 18, and producing multi-track compositions on Pro Tools at the age of 21.  Creating and playing music opened a new dimension in my life that enabled the satisfaction of a creative side that I barely knew existed. It not only made it possible for me to explore a brand new interest, but it ended up having unbounded relevance to what I do now. Because my parents allowed me to develop such a deep love for music composition, I am able to blend that skill set into all of my education related video content today. While some may have considered my love of music composition a potential waste of time and distraction from more relevant pursuits, I am happy to report that it is one component of my tool set that never seems to relent with respect to offering utility.  For parents who are contemplating whether or not to introduce their children to music, my advice is to let them give it a shot. If they don’t enjoy it, so be it, but if it ends being a fit, there are a plethora of amazing reasons to nurture the love of music.

1. Music develops and refines interpersonal skills

Music classes teach students valuable skills that can be applied outside of the music room. One critical feature of the study of music is the obligation to perform.  Whether it’s a piano recital, an orchestral performance, or an open mic debut, music participation requires a student to eventually stand up in front of an audience and perform.  While this can be a terrifying and difficult experience, it is essential for growth and development.  Students must deal with stage fright and learn how to cope with performance anxiety. Adults who neglect to address this fear at an early age can suffer crippling anxiety that can make it difficult to pursue careers that require regular public speaking.  

Another major benefit of music participation is that students get the opportunity to become a part of a positive organization. Joining a string quartet, orchestra, or rock band can give students an unparalleled opportunity to meet new people that share similar interests. This opportunity for interaction can strengthen a child’s social skills by providing a solid environment for the development of social bonds.  

2. Exposure to music helps children achieve success in academia

Several studies have been conducted regarding the positive relationship between music and academics. A Harvard study revealed that music training in children results in long-term enhancements of visual-spatial, verbal, and mathematical performance. Specifically, math and reading are improved by the processes of (1) learning rhythms and (2) decoding the notes and symbols in sheet music. Another study conducted by the College Board showed that students with music training produced scores that were higher than non-music students by over 60 points on the verbal section and 43 points on the math section. Even if music instruction stops, studies reveal that early music exposure will have a lasting and positive effect on the adult brain. Interestingly, adult musicians with age-related hearing loss can detect speech in noise more accurately than a non-musicians without hearing loss because music training has made their brains more adept at processing sound.

3. Brain activity is heightened via music immersion

Playing a piece of music requires the use of the auditory, visual, motor, and emotional centers of the brain. According to Dr. Norman Weinberger, research professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, brain scans show that there is more activity in the brain during a musical performance than there is during most other activities. This increased activity helps to shape the brain itself. The most pronounced enhancements in brain structure are visible in those who began music education early in childhood.