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Why Study Music?

Benefits of Music Study

In recent years, there has been a great deal of focus on the secondary benefits of music study (higher grades in school, better discipline, etc.) These benefits are valid and useful. But it's also important to remember that the primary benefit of music study is the ability to play music!

Imagine being able to sit down at a party and play "Happy Birthday" or your favorite tunes for friends. Imagine playing Christmas carols at family gatherings, or learning your favorite classics, such as "Für Elise" or "The Entertainer." You can go as far as you want to in music lessons!

So as you read about the various secondary benefits acquired through music study, make sure to remember the best benefit of all: piano lessons give students the skills to make music!

Music Training Improves Reasoning Skills

A group of preschoolers in California were given piano lessons once a week, while other members of their class received computer training, and a third group received no special instruction. The budding pianists scored 34% higher than the other groups on tests designed to measure spatial-temporal reasoning skills - those required for mathematics, chess, science and engineering. The computer kids scored no higher than the group who received no special instruction.

The study was led by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin and physicist Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California. "The high proportion of children who evidenced dramatic improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning as a result of music training should be of great interest to scientists and educators," said Dr. Shaw.

Drs. Rauscher and Shaw emphasize the causal relationship between early music training and the development of the neural circuitry that governs spatial intelligence. Their studies indicate that music training generates the neural connections used for abstract reasoning, including those necessary for understanding mathematical concepts.

Other recent studies that indicate that music making is a key component of academic and social success. Learning to play a musical instrument is a rewarding experience for anyone, but is especially helpful to the development of children.

Celebrities Talk About the Value of Music Study

30-second MP3 clips:
Garth Brooks
Itzhak Perlman
Sesame Workshop
Sting

60-second MP3 clips:
Gloria Estefan
Faith Hill
Carol King
Alison Krauss
Reba McEntire
Tim McGraw
Vanessa Williams

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