WHY STUDY MUSIC? by J. Terry Gates
Our profession (music education) rests on the assumption that music study is not only valuable but necessary. "Why study music?" is a question that invites professional risk. So, why bring it up?
Research abounds about the benefits of music study. Below we highlight some of our favorite websites, articles, studies and blog posts.
We encourage you to advocate for real music programs with highly trained teachers in all schools at all levels. The younger a child is when they begin to study music, the better. But it's never too late to start --- no matter what your age, music study is beneficial. Oh yeah, and it's fulfulling, satisfying and fun!
For me the true benefit of studying music is making music. I've always thought the extra stuff about being good for your brain, improving math and literacy, fostering stronger social and community relations and the like as obvious outcomes. And it still shocks me that not everyone in the world -agrees. I started making music as a toddler and based on my personal experience, I found all the "extra stuff" to be true.
I've also seen the effects on my students who started in music as babies, toddlers and preschoolers. While not a scientific sample, these chilren have advanced rapidly in all the "extra stuff" and have succeeded in their school studies. For students who started in kindergarten and later, I've seen children grow musically and academically and feel certain that music study was key.
Your thoughts on all this -- and links to articles you like -- are always appreciated. Links below will open a new tab so you can easily return to this page to read more.
How Learning Music Helps Develop Reading Skills: Dr Nina Kraus
Rhythm abilities are linked to early reading skills. Preschoolers who can tap in time with beats have stronger reading readiness and more precise neural encoding of speech (Woodruff, Carr et al 2014 PNAS). It is possible to predict a child’s future reading ability from their auditory processing skills at 3 years of age.