10 Benefits Music Provides that Sports Do Not ~ Guest Post

Posted by Jenna | Friday, August 03, 2012

Most parents understand the benefits that extracurricular activities provide for children. Studies have shown that students who are involved in extracurricular activities tend to develop better time management skills than other students. They provide an outlet for social needs and offer an opportunity for learning teamwork and camaraderie.

Music, however, is one such activity that provides added benefits that you can’t get elsewhere. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits that musical activities provide for your child that they cannot get from sports:

  1. Language and reasoning skills. Research shows that musical training – especially when it takes place in the childhood years – helps with developing the part of the brain that controls language and reasoning. The left side of the brain controls language processing, and musical education actually helps to create certain neural pathways. This is evidenced, in part, by the way music can be integrated into learning, such as memorizing facts or data by putting them into song.
  2. Spatial intelligence. Music education also relates to spatial intelligence. Spatial intelligence has to do with the way we create mental pictures of the world around us and how it’s perceived. Musical training helps students to put together the pieces. This can help with math problem solving, as well as daily tasks such as packing a lunch box.
  3. Creative problem solving. Part of arts and music education has to do with imagining possible solutions. In this context, traditional rules and assumptions are questioned. This does happen to varying degrees within the context of sports; however, sports tend to create monolithic solutions, or ones that operate within a set of structured rules. In music education, there is often more than one right answer.
  4. Cultural empathy and understanding. An integral component to music education is cross-cultural music. Studying music allows students to get a picture of other cultures, and encourages empathy toward the people of those cultures. This stands in contrast to sports, which focus on a competitive “us vs. them” attitude. While there is certainly a place for competition within music as well, it’s not a fundamental of music education.
  5. Craftsmanship. Music students gain an intricate knowledge of how things are put together. They get to see first-hand what constitutes great work, as opposed to mediocre work. These principles, when applied to the student’s own work, will allow her to demand an even greater level of performance and excellence by drawing on those internal resources.
  6. Music mistakes are readily identifiable. If your instrument is out of tune, something isn’t going to sound right. If you don’t play the notes well, it won’t be right either. This demonstrates to students the need for precision and well-thought execution.
  7. Music can be a source of self-expression. Everyone needs to express themselves at some time or another. If they don’t, their self-esteem will inevitably drop, and they’ll see poorer overall performance. Music allows children to express themselves, which means that they can avoid the path of low self-esteem.
  8. Music encourages workplace skills. Music focuses on doing and getting results, rather than just sitting back and letting things happen. Employers want people who are multi-dimension and flexible, and music education helps with all of those things.
  9. Performances allow your child to take risks. Musical performances throughout the school year teach youngsters to handle the fear of being on stage and taking risks, which is a big part of life. Students can learn how to handle their anxiety, and often feel a huge sense of accomplishment after a great performance.
  10. Music education leads to a healthy lifestyle. Statistics tell us that students participating in music courses in school are less likely to experiment with elicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco. This is in spite of the child’s socioeconomic background, which is a truly telling statistic.

There is nothing inherently wrong with sports, of course, but music offers a ton of lifelong benefits, as shown above. If your child has any interest in music education at all, make sure you talk with her and her school counselor to get all of the class arrangements worked out.

Suzy St. George is a blog writer at TakeLessons. Since 2006, TakeLessons has helped thousands of students discover their passion through music, by matching them with the top local music teachers across the nation. These certified music instructors specialize in teaching guitar, piano, singing and more.


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