What Are The Long-Term Benefits Of Taking Music Lessons?
The benefits of taking music can’t be emphasized enough! Both in the short-term and the long-term, music lessons offer fantastic advantages that will stay with your child for their entire life.
Whether your child wants to pursue a music career or they only play their instrument as a hobby, taking music lessons will foster a love of music and a passion for learning that is absolutely invaluable.
One of the most poignant lessons that comes from learning an instrument is that the educational aspect of music never really ends. While music lessons may end with one particular teacher or a student may stop taking in-person lessons during a particular stage in their life, the journey of music never truly ends.
Reaping The Benefits Of Music Lessons: What Can Children Get Out Of Years Of Music Lessons?
When your children take music lessons, they experience some of the most substantial benefits that any extracurricular activity can offer. Not only do they gain a lifelong love of music and get to enjoy the experience of learning to play an instrument, but many other benefits come along with it as well.
Children who take music lessons learn about creativity, self-expression, systematic learning, and perseverance. They get unique opportunities to belong to their community and contribute to society in beautiful and significant ways. They grow in confidence and learn empathy, and they gain a number of cognitive skills that provide lifelong advantages in all areas of their lives. Music lessons have actually been linked to improved academic performance and higher IQs. Lessons also help improve children’s motor skills, discipline, muscle development, language skills, social skills, and cultural understanding.
Additionally, music lessons foster an appreciation for music that brings joy, peace, and fulfillment that few other things can offer. They gain achievement and pride in what they’ve accomplished and learn the value of hard work.
Whether a child takes music lessons for a few months or several years, they will experience some level of these many benefits. But, of course, the longer an individual takes lessons, the more long-term benefits he or she will enjoy.
Music Lessons Bring Joy To Learning & Playing An Instrument
True joy can often feel unattainable in today’s world, and when you find something that sparks joy in your life, you should hold onto it with all you’ve got. For many people, that overwhelming sense of joy that is often hard to find is found in music. Hearing music, watching someone play music, learning music, and creating music are all wonderful ways to create some joy in your own life and in the lives of those around you.
Music lessons sound intriguing to many people, and there’s a good reason behind that. They are fun! It’s fun and exciting to start with no background knowledge and, within a short time, be able to play something recognizable to others. It’s fun to practice the same song over and over and struggle with it for a while, and then finally get it! That satisfaction of accomplishing something hard can really put a pep in your step and ignite some excitement.
Another joy-inducing part of playing music is playing for others. Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned jam session? Even if it takes you a while to get to the point of wanting to truly perform for others, playing for close friends or family members can be quite fun and exciting! Just imagine playing Jingle Bells around the Christmas tree or leading a hymn around the campfire or covering your favorite band’s songs.
Learning and playing music creates joy in your own life and gives you the opportunity to share that joy with others, which is an incredible feeling that every child should be privy to.
Music Lessons Provide Room For Creativity & Self-Expression
Even someone with no musical experience likely enjoys playing around on a piano or guitar. There is something very satisfying about making music come out of an instrument, even if they’re not the most sophisticated player.
So imagine how it feels to have actual skill on an instrument and then be able to create something beautiful with that instrument. It is not only incredibly joy-inducing, but it’s a fantastic way to express yourself. Much of playing an instrument is about musical interpretation. While some pieces are intended to sound particular ways, musicians all over the world love to reinvent songs by putting their own spin on classic tunes.
When you listen to someone play music, you’re not just hearing their technique and skills, but you’re hearing how they interpret the music. You’re hearing what’s inside of them mixed with their skillset on a particular instrument, and that is what makes performances special and meaningful. Different people playing the same piece of music can sound drastically different all because of this interpretation and creative self-expression that music allows.
Great and famous musicians often argue that while a solid technique is important, what a performer expresses in their performances is far more significant. We can always admire technique, but we never forget performances that touch our souls and inspire us. Music lessons give your child the chance to experience that level of self-expression and the creativity that comes along with it.
Music Lessons Help You Become Part Of A Community
Today more than ever, being connected within a community is hugely important. In the lives of our children and teens especially, feeling included and involved is vital to wellbeing, social-emotional health, and personal satisfaction. Regardless of how social your child is or isn’t, music lessons allow them to enter into a new community.
Having a connection to a community of musicians is good for people of all ages. Children who have a caring music teacher, perform in recitals, and get connected with other musicians will feel fulfilled and important within her own community, which is very important in today’s world.
When children take music lessons and meet others who do the same, they automatically share a common bond. They have a big part of their lives in common and often make quick friends with similar interests. In addition to sharing an experience with a specific instrument, children may also meet others who play different instruments, which exposes them to new experiences. Musicians just seem to get other musicians, no matter their ages, and that bond is an integral part of staying involved in a community and being a contributing member of society in the future.
Additionally, as a musician, students of all ages will get opportunities to connect with those outside their musical world but within the town or city in which they live. Playing at local festivals and events or plugging into other musical groups within their town is a great way for them to have new experiences and share their gifts with other people in their area.
Music Lessons Form A Systematic Learning Process
Perhaps the greatest long-term benefit of music lessons is the systematic learning process that it introduces. Here is the basic overview:
- Students start by learning small things about their instrument
- They set easily attainable goals and work toward them
- They face roadblocks and have to work hard to improve certain skills
- They eventually master a particular skill, and then a new one is introduced
- Attainable goals are set for the new skill, roadblocks surface, hard work is done, and the new goal is achieved
This process repeats itself over and over again in music, for as long as someone is actively learning their instrument. It is a lifelong journey for many, and their music teachers can help them embrace the process as they get used to this new style of learning.
Musicians will eventually learn small parts of a particular song, one at a time and step by step, and then they combine those small parts and can eventually play the entire song. This process happens again and again until they can eventually play very difficult music that they once never dreamed of playing.
This systematic learning process is key to building resilient, hardworking, and confident kids. This process is what teaches musicians that they can do anything they set their mind to, whether within music or outside of music. It’s a very powerful process that creates incredible people with amazing skills. It helps them understand not only how to break down big tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks, but it also reassures them that they can, in fact, do whatever they set out to do.
Music Lessons Build Confidence
They say that confidence doesn’t come from the final result of something, but from the journey it takes to get there. The journey of learning an instrument is powerful and fun, and it comes with a myriad of fantastic benefits, including improved confidence in children.
Research in recent years has found that parents should praise the effort of their children rather than the final product, such as a homework assignment, piece of art, or sports performance. They say that giving attention to the effort it took and the hard work that went into it is far more important than praising the good grade or winning the game. As parents, we want our children to work hard regardless of the outcome, and we want them to be proud of their hard work no matter what happens in the end.
Music lessons are the perfect way to do just that. Children will find joy in seeing how far they come, and they will notice the significance of their own effort along the way. When children walk through the systematic learning process of music and see themselves learn new skills and achieve new levels of technique and mastery, they will believe in themselves in ways you may have never thought possible.
There is something really powerful about saying, “I can play an instrument,” and then actually playing it well. Children who can do that have a level of confidence that very few of their peers likely have, and when they stay consistent in music lessons, that confidence is likely to make its way into adulthood.
Music Lessons Help Increase Cognitive Skills
You’ve probably heard it said before that music lessons can make your child smarter, but did you know that there is actual scientific evidence to back that up? Countless research studies have explored the effects of music lessons on cognitive ability, including IQ scores, language development, prosocial skills, numeracy skills, reading abilities, speech, and attention span.
A 2004 study looked at first graders’ IQ scores before the school year began. A group of those students took music lessons for the entire year, and the entire study group underwent IQ testing after the school year ended. While they all increased in their scores due to learning throughout first grade, the musical group had a far greater increase in scores.
A 2008 study explored language skills in eight-year-olds that had never taken music lessons. They tested the kids’ reading abilities and pitch discrimination skills as they related to speech. Some of the kids then took music lessons for a six-month period, after which they showed improved results in reading and speech. They also showed a significant difference in neural processes, meaning that the brain’s ability to change and grow is far more significant than once realized.
A 2015 study had parents replace shared reading time with music activities with their preschool-aged children. More than 3,000 parents participated and the study found that children saw an improvement in prosocial skills, numeracy skills, and attention span.
In addition to these scientific studies, parents of children in music lessons note improved academic performance, social skills, vocabulary, and more. Having children in music lessons encourages their brains to work in new ways that help them grow and learn a great deal.
Music Lessons Foster Perseverance And Create A Sense Of Achievement
As mentioned above in the section on systematic learning processes, music lessons offer a unique opportunity to help students learn lifelong skills. Not only will students learn the skill of playing an instrument, but they will acquire important executive skills along the way, one of which is perseverance.
Because music is a never-ending journey, it’s not a skill that ever really ends. It’s not something that is finally realized or achieved. Children who learn how to play an instrument begin a journey that can continue for as long as they want it to, including for the entirety of their lives if they so desire. This means that the learning never really stops; it simply changes.
Young students may begin by learning basic skills and simple songs, each one a little harder than the next. They get a sense of achievement as they master each simple song and move on to the next, each with harder skills and more advanced technique. The more they learn, the more accomplished they feel, and the more they enjoy that feeling of accomplishment, which spurs them on to continue learning.
At the same time, during that learning process, students are bound to face obstacles. Certain skills will be harder to come by, and certain techniques may trip them up over and over again. But because of the desire for more achievement within their instrument, they will be pros at having perseverance. They will motivate themselves, take responsibility for their learning, and continue working hard until they accomplish what they set out to do.
Music Lessons Bestow Empathy
While some people do have natural musical talent, no one is born being able to play a symphony. No one picks up a guitar for the first time and rocks out to a Jimi Hendrix solo. Everyone has to work at playing music. Everyone starts from the beginning, learning basic notes and hand positions, and no one is perfect or amazing right off the bat.
Having your child walk through learning an instrument will help them understand these things. It will help them see that no one is perfect and everyone struggles, and it will help them be more understanding when they see someone else struggling.
Sometimes we will see a young child on TV or at an event playing a musical instrument like a professional. We think, “Wow! What a talented kid!” But here’s the secret: talent is really just the ability to work at something relentlessly. It’s not that this particular child has some innate special skill that you could never have. It’s simply that they learned how to work hard at a young age and they applied that lesson to learning a musical instrument.
When a child learns to play an instrument, they learn that it takes hard work. They learn how to buckle down and stay focused on their task, and they learn that repetition is key and that never giving up is essential.
It’s this experience and this knowledge of hard work that helps young musicians grow in empathy. They understand that growth and learning is a process, and they understand that we are all working on things in our lives. They recognize that no one is perfect and they give more grace and offer more understanding after working on their own music for a while.
Music Lessons Give Children A Lifelong Appreciation For Music
Whether you’ve spent years studying music or don’t feel like you have a musical bone in your body, we would be willing to bet that music has had a significant impact on your life in some way. Maybe there’s a song that always reminds you of a special person and your unique relationship. Perhaps a song brings up memories of an important event or place. Or maybe certain songs evoke such strong emotions that you struggle to listen to them.
Whether you grew up singing church hymns in the third-row pew or rocking out to ACDC with your parents in the back of your grandpa’s pickup truck, everyone has significant memories associated with music. From childhood to teen romance to young adulthood and beyond, certain songs will always have important meaning to you, and there is simply nothing like music to bring you back to a place and time at the drop of a hat.
If your child is taking music lessons, they likely already have some strong associations with particular songs, but this is just the beginning. Giving them an insider look at how music is created, how it is learned, and how it is played is going to change their lives. They will not only be able to create and play beautiful songs, but they will also understand the significance of how some of their favorite songs went from a vision to conception, and that is sure to give them an even deeper appreciation.
Setting & Achieving Music Goals
When you start a new job, hobby, or project, it’s a pretty natural response to think about the end result. What are you trying to achieve or accomplish? What would be a marker of success? When will you feel like you’ve done a great job and can perhaps take the next step forward?
The same mindset should ring true for children taking music lessons, although you may need to encourage this thought process in them. Setting and achieving music goals is a great way to ensure your child is moving forward in his or her musical skills, and it’s important for building confidence and maintaining perseverance when facing obstacles.
The goals your child sets in their musical journey may differ based on their age, and they will likely change and evolve over time. Here are some basic ideas of goals to help your child achieve throughout their musical journey:
- Play for family at the next get-together
- Perform at a local community or school event
- Practice daily and keep track of practice time
- Be prepared for each music lesson as much as possible
- Listen to a new style of music each week
- Pick a new song to learn
- Compose their own song
- Audition for a specific musical role or organization
Not All Musicians Have To Go Professional, And That’s Okay!
Not all kids who take music lessons will go on to become professional musicians. Some may not even continue playing or performing into adulthood. This is okay. It can be hard for parents who are passionate about music to have a child who isn’t, but it is truly okay for children not to pursue music into their adult years, particularly in the professional sense.
Some kids want to take lessons just to learn how to play the instrument and have a creative outlet to express themselves. Others take lessons because their friends are taking them, or because Mom said they had to pick an extracurricular activity and music sounded better than art class. Regardless of the reason a kid begins music lessons, know that it is okay for them to simply “dabble” as they age. A good instructor will help shape their motivation and appreciation of lessons, even if the child is not fully interested at first.
No matter why a child chooses to take music lessons or why they choose not to pursue a professional music career, they still get to reap the many benefits of learning how to play an instrument.
Music provides a healthy outlet to express yourself, and it can be quite therapeutic to play and create music at any level. Music also helps create meaningful social interactions and can be the foundation of important friendships that last a lifetime. Music helps connect people and it gives individuals a fulfilling place in the community. In addition to helping with cognitive development at an early age, music can also help with brain health as we age. Even if a musician doesn’t ever make a dime off their music, they experience great benefits in the health of their brain. Music can decrease depression and anxiety, and it can increase memory and mental acuity. Finally, music is just plain fun. We all need fun in our lives and even if it is never a money-making endeavor music brings joy and so much more which is priceless.
Pursuing A Career In Music? Go For It!
If your child is interested in beginning a music career, it’s best to do some solid research on the many opportunities available to him or her. Here are some of the first steps to take when your child is getting ready to pursue a career in music.
Build Entrepreneurial Skills
Musicians are often self-employed and need to function like a small business. While they may not need to register a business name or get a business license, they still need to understand how they are going to manage income and expenses, how they will market themselves to get new gigs, and more. Getting an entrepreneurial mindset from the start will set them up for success.
Have a Plan
What type of music do they want to play and where? Do they plan to play with a band, work open mic nights, or get a recurring performance job? They need to understand exactly what they want to do in order to effectively go after appropriate positions.
Networking is huge in any industry, but within the music industry, much of a person’s success comes from who they know. They should build up a network of contacts within the music and entertainment industry and make it very clear to everyone they meet that they are actively pursuing a music career.
Learn to Sell
Musicians need to sell themselves and convince others to hire them. Without listening to a sample of their music, employers or event coordinators won’t have any way of knowing why your child is set apart from other musicians unless they sell themselves well.
Be Active Online
In today’s day and age, internet marketing is just as prominent–if not more so–than other marketing strategies. While they can’t count on becoming a YouTube star overnight, having a solid online presence will give ample opportunity to be found online and will help your child build up a portfolio of work that anyone looking to hire them can access.
What Are The Possible Careers In Music?
No matter your child’s age, they’re never too young to talk about their future. While they may not make a life-altering career decision while taking in-home music lessons during elementary or middle school, it’s important that they understand what options are out there when it comes to a future career in music. It’s not just about performing, so if they love music but are nervous about getting up to play in front of people, reassure them that they have a multitude of possibilities when it comes to having a music career.
Here are some of the areas where students can apply their love of music to their careers:
Students should understand their professional and personal goals as they explore different music careers, and they should look into different college programs that can help them achieve their dream job. They might wish to talk to their music teacher or college professors about opportunities, pursue an internship or get an entry-level position in a field they’re considering, or even go to graduate school for an advanced degree in their field of interest. Additionally, many music students will seek entrepreneurial opportunities in high school or college as a gateway into their future careers.
Music Performance Careers
When most people think about a career in music, they envision performance careers. This is the dream of many young musicians, but it’s not always easy to land jobs like this. It’s important that your child understands that a music performance career doesn’t have to be their only musical goal in life. Maybe they do perform regularly, either on their own or in a group, but they might also wish to teach music, become a music therapist, or work as a music producer. Many of these positions can be part-time and work in conjunction with one another for a fulfilling and enjoyable music career.
That being said, since music performance careers are one of the top goals of many young instrumentalists, here are some of the best opportunities for a career performing music.
Dancers, singers, and other instrumentalists all need accompanists to assist them during rehearsals and performances. If your child is a piano player, this is an excellent opportunity for them to do what they love consistently and in a variety of environments.
Sheet music is often written by arrangers who transcribe arrangements for musicians. This often involves playing through musical pieces and ensuring the sheet music is correct before it goes to other musicians.
While conducting doesn’t involve playing an actual instrument in performances, it’s about directing a musical ensemble in their performance. Conductors often work with orchestras or large bands, as well as actors and performers in musicals and other live performances.
Being an instrumentalist in an orchestra involves rehearsing regularly with your section and the orchestra as a whole, and it involves frequent performances with the entire ensemble. Orchestras often play during live theater events and often have standalone concerts as well.
This title is similar to an orchestra member except that the musicians may not be part of an actual musical ensemble. Performing musicians often play gigs, do shows, travel with other musicians, promote their music, go on tour, and interact with other musicians and industry performers.
This position exists primarily within the music recording industry, but it’s a unique job that allows musicians to have lots of different experiences and opportunities. Session musicians often work alongside producers and recording engineers to add unique sounds to songs, often getting the chance to play different types of music and work with a variety of artists.
This career isn’t purely performance-focused, but it is about creating music with the purpose of it being performed. Composers don’t only create classical music, however. This field has expanded as technology expands, and composers are now needed to create music for TV shows, movies, video games, and more.
Careers In The Music Industry
If your child has his or her heart set on working in the music industry, they are in good company. The music industry is booming and countless individuals dream of breaking into the industry on a regular basis. While the music industry is full of many experienced and talented individuals, its growth is unlimited. And even more than that, the jobs available to newcomers are endless. With new advancements in technology and revolutionary approaches to creating and sharing music, there is a place for a variety of skill sets within this exciting industry.
Here are some of the top career opportunities within the music industry.
In most cases, music producers are responsible for the final product of a recorded album. They interact with both the musicians and the record labels, and they are experts at audio and musical concepts. They balance the creative with the commercial, and they understand what makes a good sound and how to improve that sound with quality software.
Musicians work directly with recording engineers to capture and create ideal sounds in the studio. They’ll work with digital and analog audio, microphones, compressors, and signal flow, and they’ll both capture and manipulate sound for the ideal final result. They are familiar with multiple recording technologies and manage and repair any technical problems that come about during recording.
This career is an exciting one that allows individuals to promote and propel musicians forward in their performance careers. Artist managers are responsible for planning, coordinating, negotiating, and directing their musicians to help them achieve success within the industry. Management and leadership skills are key for this career.
Tour managers are the masterminds behind making sure a tour runs smoothly, from the financials to the scheduling to the transportation and accommodations. Tour managers need to know the music industry extremely well and understand all the logistics that go into running a successful tour.
As a booking agent, your primary responsibility is to get the band or artist you’re working with on stage. They work closely with artist managers and venue managers, ensuring the technical equipment, scheduling, and hospitality are all taken care of. Booking agents are also responsible for negotiating pricing and will need to have a thorough knowledge of marketing, contract negotiation, event organization, and sales.
This position will have individuals working closely with media outlets, performance venues, and marketing experts. Music publicists are responsible for helping musicians get positive press and actually make it into the news. This role is far more than what it used to be and is primarily about communications, marketing, and reputation management.
This career is pretty straightforward. Music journalists will cover music-related events and topics, creating content to share that information with the world.
Music Teaching Jobs
Many people discover their love of music early in life, often because of an amazing music teacher they had. Some of these passionate musicians will go on to successful careers in performance or within the music industry, but many of them choose to give back to the craft they love by teaching others.
Becoming a music educator is a fulfilling and important job that can change the lives of other people longing to play an instrument. Just as with the other categories of a music career, many options exist within music education as possible job opportunities.
Private Music Instructor
Private music instructors can work for an agency or company, or they can be self-employed. They can often set their own rates for lessons, and they can select which age range of students they teach. It may take a while to build up a clientele as a private music instructor, but this career can be incredibly fulfilling.
K-12 School Music Teacher
If your child wants to become a music teacher in a school, he or she will need at least a bachelor’s degree in music education. These positions can look very different depending on the school. Elementary music teachers will work primarily on understanding very basic music fundamentals and will generally involve leading a chorus. Middle and high school music education will involve teaching a variety of different instruments and more advanced music theory. Some high school band directors will also take on the role of marching band director.
College music professors will need to have at least a master’s degree, if not a PhD. The amount of money they make and the requirements of the job will depend on the size of the college and its music program. Music professors often have specialty areas that they focus on, but they may be required to teach additional courses outside their particular areas of expertise.
Musicologists are those who study and research music, typically from an educational perspective. They will explore historical and cultural features of music and the implications of the music on society. This is a fascinating career option that allows passionate musicians to contribute to academia in an exciting and unique way.
Until When Should Your Child Take Music Lessons?
Despite what many people think, music lessons don’t have to be finite. They don’t need to have an official ending, and they are never truly “finished.” Musicians can always learn more, so even if they make significant progress and meet many personal and professional goals, they are never really quite done.
How long your child takes music lessons will depend on you and your child. There is no singular answer that works for everyone. Perhaps your child wants to take a break to pursue other things or has decided that they’re finished playing their instrument. This should bring about a conversation about their future in music and how they view their relationship with their instrument later in life.
For many people, a time will come when they feel like they don’t need lessons anymore but they still want to continue playing. We would encourage these people to continue lessons! Even professional musicians and music teachers still take lessons!
Since you can always be improving and learning more in music, you should never set an official end date to your musical journey. While lessons may look different than they once did or you may change teachers for a particular reason, each stage in your child’s musical journey is different and that’s exactly how it should be.
Continuing Music Lessons With Lessons In Your Home
If you feel like your child has outgrown his or her current teacher or like they are ready for something different, explore the possibilities with Lessons in Your Home. Our teachers can come to you or do virtual lessons to offer a unique and effective learning experience that meets your children right where they are.
If your child feels stuck or is struggling with their current musical experience, get in touch with Lessons in Your Home to learn about how we can help. We feel strongly that a great teacher can revolutionize a musical journey and we want to help ignite that passion in your child.