Mozart, ShMozart - can learning an instrument help my child succeed in school?
Music helps cows to produce more milk! Mozart makes your child cleverer! Great headlines, but how accurate are they really?
A recent project in seven Newham primary schools called 'Literacy through Music'* confirms the benefits making music can have on your child's development. Children advanced their reading age on average by 8.4 months and in some cases by as much as 18 months!
The children also said that they felt more included. This confirms results from a German long-term study**, which reported that children making music together significantly reduced incidents of bullying, or excluding peers from play.
As a seasoned musician and music teacher I am not surprised by the findings - making music uses so many parts of brain and body at once:
using your fine motor skills necessary to hit the right notes,
listening to the others you are playing with, working as a team
following and understanding instructions from the teacher
reading music to sharpen your analytical skills
Any new skill will boost your brain and making music even more so - learning an instrument is a complex activity, stimulating your child intellectually, physically and socially.
Have I mentioned that making music is fun, too? If your child is not enjoying their lessons, speak to your child's teacher to find out what you can do together to make it fun.
* Literacy through Music, a research evaluation of the New London Orchestra's Literacy through Music Programme, IMERC
** The so-called Bastian Study (after Prof. Bastian)