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Can Learning How To Play An Instrument Benefit My Child?

The first thing I have to share with you all is this very cool video of some very talented kids completely jamming out on their instruments. My favorite, is the kid on the drums. He absolutely kills it! I have to admire the support of the moms and dads who endured hours and hours of practice.

Recently my wife and I have been talking about signing our girls up for piano lessons. My girls are only three and five so I decided to do a little research into the matter to insure that we make the best decision possible. First I asked my girls if they had any interest in playing the piano and they both had different musical instruments in mind other than a piano. One would like to play the flute and bagpipes, the other would like to play the drums. Oh boy. I can just imagine the house and hours of bagpipes and drum practicing going on in my house. I wanted to know if learning to play an instrument is really going to benefit my child.

So, can learning how to play an instrument benefit my child?

Yes, if your child is at least 3 years old. That's when his brain circuits for music training begin to mature. And studies suggest that music lessons can increase brain power. One University of California at Irvine study shows that 3- and 4-year-olds who took piano lessons performed better on tests that measured their spatial-temporal reasoning (ability to to think in space and time) than those who didn't.

Study author Gordon Shaw says these kids may be able to learn complex math problems earlier than others who've had no musical training. The piano is a good instrument to start with, he adds, because kids don't have to master any special fingering, as they would with a guitar, violin, or other stringed instrument. Plus, the linear progression of the keys helps make the concept of music scales concrete.

Yet another study suggests that music lessons sharpen the mind, but it looked only at older children. Scientists at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, whose research was published in the journal Nature in 1998, say kids who have at least six years of music lessons before the age of 12 learn more words than those who go without. Researchers read 16-word lists three times to 60 girls. Those who had studied music for six years remembered more words than those who hadn't. Martin Gardiner of the Music School in Providence, Rhode Island, examined the effect of music and art lessons on a group of 5- to 7-year-olds who were considered “underperformers.” According to the magazine The Economist, after seven months of lessons, they were tested on reading, writing, and math and found to have caught up with their peers in reading and writing, and surpassed them in math.

Other cool videos of amazing musical kids


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