It is said by many that music makes you smarter. Is this true? The answer is it can be if you are actively engaged in the lessons that you are learning. A decent music education can have incredible benefits on the heart and mind of its students. Studying music as a whole can improve the academic and creative skills of anyone that actively participates in the music making process. By taking lessons and studying music, it instills in students ideals and practices such as discipline and patience.
Music is a surprisingly academic subject, with its use of rhythm, patterns, and complex harmonies. The inclusion of music can also improve academic skills and even IQs of many students. A study was done that measured the brain function of high school students who took music lessons over the course of two years. This study, called The Harmony Project, showed that these students had a significant change in their brains, which the researchers credit to their musical training. Reading, writing, and speech skills improved with their exposure to music because music allows them to process sound more easily. Music lessons and the practicing that students do in order to excel in their music education also teaches them skills such as patience, concentration, discipline, and self-awareness that are useful in succeeding in academic situations.
An extremely important, yet sometimes overlooked, part of any student’s education is Creativity. Music – and any arts education, for that matter – is integral to fostering this creativity. Why is creativity so important you may ask? According to the U.S. Secretary of Education, “Today’s workers need more than just skills and knowledge to be productive and innovative participants. To succeed today and in the future, America’s children will need to be inventive, resourceful and imaginative”. Music is an expressive art form, which unlocks students’ creative minds and helps them to think outside the box.
Both the academic and the creative aspects of music are polar opposites. Putting these two aspects together, however, forms a truly unique and special thing: music. Music is unlike other school subjects because “it challenges [students] academically, requiring literacy and math skills ranging from mundane to sophisticated. It requires students to experience learning physically – moving fingers, arms, legs, and even feet to produce the proper sound. It probes students’ emotional and spiritual depths, asking meaningful, artistic questions that often have deeply personal answers.”
Very few, if any, other activities engage both sides of the brain. Studying music engages both sides of the brain and the benefits of this are innumerable.