Give the Gift of Music

Our ukelele students sharing their music!

We all want to provide the best gifts for our kids – gifts that they love, but also gifts that will impact them for good.  This is why there is such a trend now to provide experiences rather than toys for Christmas. We now find many parents and grandparents Giving the Gift of Music to their children and grandchildren in lieu of Christmas presents — and not only the child, but the whole family is benefiting!  

It is a known fact that music students love their lessons!  They may not always love to practice, but nowadays, having so many proven techniques and resources at their fingertips, teachers who love music and love kids can provide a very positive weekly experience for students which they love. This goes a long way in helping them stay in their music lessons. But how does music compare to other activities long-term?  Lots of activities are fun, but do they have lifelong results?

In a study by the University of Vermont College of Medicine, brain scans of 232 children ages 6 to 8 were analyzed, looking for relationships between cortical thickness and musical training (references below). Why was this correlation important?  Because previous studies the same team had performed revealed that anxiety, depression, attention problems and aggression correspond with decreased cortical thickness. Hudziak and his team sought to discover whether a “positive activity” like musical training could affect the opposite changes in young minds.

What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument,” Hudziak told the Washington Post, “it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.”

The study found increased thickness in the parts of the brain responsible for executive functioning, which includes working memory, attentional control and organizational skills. They believe that musical training could serve as a powerful treatment of cognitive disorders like ADHD, amongst others.

Taking music lessons from an early age has been connected to improved math and reading skills; increased fine motor skills, impulse and ADHD control; emotional and behavioral maturation; and even being able to hear speech during their elderly years (references below).

Children who receive musical training in school tend to be more civically engaged and maintain higher grade-point averages than children who don’t. Since many students don’t receive quality music education at school, giving the gift of music lessons to our children can lead to more self-controlled, resilient, intelligent adults. 

But it’s not just enduring many interminable years of lessons that creates these good results. It’s active enjoyment, creating and really living the music on a day-to-day basis that has these effects. And that’s what Harmony Arts and Music Academy is all about! We have lessons available for babies on up through adults.

Babies and toddlers start to play peekaboo with scarves, pretend to walk through the green grass, jump up and down, and before they know it they are singing and chanting common musical patterns, and playing the glockenspiel! We intentionally create a fun environment where the kids enjoy learning so much, it is more like playing. And that is what creates those benefits! 

Although tickets to plays and sporting events can make for great presents, the opportunity to actively make music is a gift that truly lasts a lifetime. All ages benefit from music, so as you are making your Christmas List, think about not only your children, but your spouse, parents and friends!  Who do you know who has always wanted to learn an instrument but has never given it a try?

Better than a toy, even better than a single experience, music lessons will enrich their entire lives! For more information, please call 435-452-2697 or click www.harmonyarts.net.

References:

Barnes, T. (2015, Jan 8). Science Just Discovered Something Amazing About What Childhood Piano Lessons Did to You. Retrieved from http://www.mic.com/articles/108022/science-just-discovered-something-amazing-about-what-childhood-piano-lessons-did-to-you

Jones, J. (2015, Sept 4). New Research Shows How Music Lessons During Childhood Benefit the Brain for a Lifetime. Retrieved from http://www.openculture.com/2015/09/new-research-shows-how-music-lessons-during-childhood-benefits-the-brain-for-a-lifetime.html