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Here's why your kids should take music lesson at the Y | Arts & Culture

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Here's why your kids should take music lesson at the Y
Arts & Culture
Here's why your kids should take music lesson at the Y


Music Lessons Increase Your Intelligence

Many scientific studies have been done which conclusively show that students who play a musical instrument get better grades and have better test scores than those who don’t.  Recent studies have even shown that music training actually increases IQ, enables children to start reading at a younger age, and helps older adults to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia by strengthening the memory.


Problem Solvers - Students who can perform complex rhythms can also make faster and more precise corrections in many academic and physical situations, according to the Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills.- Rhythm seen as key to music’s evolutionary role in human intellectual development, Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills, 2000.

Higher SAT Scores — Students with experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT than students with no music education: 53 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math for music performance; 61 points higher on the verbal and 42 points higher on the math for music appreciation.”


Highest Grades - Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non- participants receiving those grades. NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington DC


Higher Test Scores - A ten-year study indicates that students who study music achieve higher test scores, regardless of socioeconomic background. – Dr. James Catterall, UCLA.


Higher Reading Scores - In a Scottish study, one group of elementary students received musical training, while another other group received an equal amount of discussion skills training. After six (6) months, the students in the music group achieved a significant increase in reading test scores, while the reading test scores of the discussion skills group did not change. – Sheila Douglas and Peter Willatts, Journal of Research in Reading, 1994.


Helps Alzheimers Patients - Music therapists working with Alzheimer’s patients have found that rhythmic interaction or listening to music has resulted in decreased agitation, increased focus and concentration, enhanced ability to respond verbally and behaviorally, elimination of demented speech, improved ability to respond to questions, and better social interaction. -Carol Prickett and Randall Moore, “The Use of Music to Aid Memory of Alzheimer’s Patients,” Journal of Music Therapy 28 (1991).


Exercises Brain - Scientists have found that music involves the left, right, front, and back portions of the brain. –Donald Hodges, “Neuromusical Research.” Handbook of Music Psychology (San Antonio: IMR Press, 1996).


Most Med Students - Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. 44% of biochemistry majors were admitted. As reported in “The Case for Music in the Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994



“Music making makes the elderly healthier…. There were significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and loneliness following keyboard lessons. These are factors that are critical in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system, and in improved health. Results also show significant increases in human growth hormones following the same group keyboard lessons. (Human growth hormone is implicated in aches and pains.)” Dr. Frederick Tims, reported in AMC Music News, June 2, 1999


Self Discipline

Anybody who has ever played music for very long can attest to the fact that becoming proficient at any musical instrument takes a lot of work.  Students of music tend to have increased levels of self discipline because they become accustomed to working consistently toward their goals in music.


Better Behavior - In a 2000 survey, 73 percent of respondents agree that teens who play an instrument are less likely to have discipline problems. - Americans Love Making Music – And Value Music Education More Highly Than Ever, American Music Conference, 2000.


Better Organized - Students who are rhythmically skilled also tend to better plan, sequence, and coordinate actions in their daily lives. – “Cassily Column,” TCAMS Professional Resource Center, 2000.



Stress Relief

Another thing music does for us is to activate the pleasure centers in the brain, causing the body to release endorphins and make a person feel calm and at peace with themselves and their surroundings.


Less Anxiety - Music students demonstrate less test anxiety and performance anxiety than students who do not study music.- “College-Age Musicians Emotionally Healthier than Non-Musician Counterparts,”Houston Chronicle, 1998.


Lowers temp, blood pressure, etc - Music can affect body temperature because of its influence on blood circulation, pulse rate, breathing, and sweating. Transcendent music and loud music can raise our body heat a few degrees, while soft music with a weak beat can lower it. – Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect (New York: Avon Books, 1997), 70-71.


Calming - The city of Edmonton, Canada, pipes in Mozart string quartets in the city squares to calm pedestrian traffic, and, as a result, drug dealings have lessened. – “Music-Let’s Split,” Newsweek, 1990.


Lessens Depression, Loneliness- In a 1998 study, retirees who participated in group keyboard lessons reported decreased anxiety, decreased depression, and decreased loneliness when compared to a control group. - Scientific Study Indicates That Making Music Makes the Elderly Healthier, American Music Conference, 1998.


Impact on Society

Just as the old adage states that, “The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword,” music has an extremely powerful effect on the hearts and minds of its listeners and consequently on the state of our society and the course of History.  Examples of music’s power in history are quite abundant; from the spirituals sung by slaves who longed for freedom, to the hippie protest songs of the 60’s, to the Hymns and Psalms sung in Churches around the world.  Music has an impressive track record for helping to change the world.


Lowest Crime – Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. Reported in Houston Chronicle, January 1998


Boosts Productivity - Music can boost productivity in the workplace. Businesses like AT&T, DuPont, and Equitable Life Insurance have cut training time in half, increased output, and raised efficiency with creative music programs. -Business Music: A Performance Tool for the Office/Workplace (Seattle: Muzak, 1991).


So…if you want to be smarter, healthier, more disciplined, and if you want to help build a better world, go to your local YMCA, get some lessons, and start making some great music.


For more information on teen Music Lessons, visit us at http://ymcaspokane.org/programs/teens/programs/



About the Author,


Christopher is a full time professional musician who has played with multiple pro level bands including the Washington Air National Guard Band and Soul Proprietor.  He has won numerous awards for music including the Battle of  “Best Guitarist” of Battle of the Bands in 1995.  Versed in many different styles of music including jazz and classical, Christopher is especially passionate about rock and metal and currently plays in two different bands, Road II Roam (acoustic rock) and Imminent Reign (progressive power metal).

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