Category Archives: benefits

Why music matters

Four proven arguments explaining why music matters

Sally Cathcart, co-founder of The Curious Piano Teachers (and yes, I am a member of this group) asked on a recent blog:

How many instrumental teachers and parents are fully aware of all the benefits of making music and learning an instrument?

As signed up piano students and parents you already know that there are many benefits of learning the piano, but it is worth reinforcing why music matters, and vital that this knowledge is shared with the wider public. There is strong research evidence for all the following key points, selected (and simplified) by Sally from The Power of Music, a research synthesis by Professor Susan Hallam, one of the world’s leading music education academics.

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1. Music reshapes the brain
‘Active engagement with music [meaning the aural experience of music] produces structural changes in the brain related to the processing of sound’

  • Music can help with phonics
  • Learning to read notation may have direct transfer effects to reading text as many of the underlying principles are the same
  • There is lots of evidence that musical training provides individuals with better overall aural memory
  • There is strong evidence that making music has an impact on spatial reasoning
  • Rhythm and movement seem to be particularly important for us as a species

2. Musical training matters
‘Children who experience musical training have an advantage across all subjects except sport’

  • In research studies children who learnt an instrument made better progress in school, no matter the level they started from
  • Start young!
  • The longer the training the bigger the impact

3. Music has a direct link to our emotions
‘It reaches the parts of the brain other things can’t do’.

  • Music can improve our mood – how many pupils come into lessons with a frown and go out with a smile?
  • Music can reduce anger
  • Singing and playing with others gives a sense of belonging

4. Music improves self belief
‘When children engage in music and get positive feedback it helps them to develop a stronger self belief’

  • The opportunity to perform with positive and constructive feedback can be highly motivating (performance can cover a variety of contexts including informal and more formal settings)