The Importance of Music Education For Children

With a new school year beginning I feel a need to address the importance of music education for children. As many know music education covers a wide array of topics in music. Playing a musical instrument is just one very important aspect of music education.  Music education in the education system is always a hot topic among  educators, administrators and parents. With so much emphasis being placed on math, reading and literacy, music education often gets bumped to the bottom of the list. In many circumstances it has been removed from the list. The need to cut budgets and teachers leave many children with no music education at all.  As a mother, musician, and music educator this is extremely disappointing. While I know my child will always be immersed in the world of music, it is disheartening to think of the thousands of children who are loosing the opportunity to explore the musical world and all it has to offer.

So…..What is the importance of music education for children?

Children playing

 I truly believe that music is just as important as all other subject areas. Music education requires students to do many things including:

  • Multi-task – Learning to play an instrument requires students to focus on playing an instrument while reading music. Both of these actions are often quite new to the child, meaning they have to exhibit great concentration.
  • Team Work – Many activities or assignments will require students to work with fellow classmates either to create an original composition or perform an existing piece of music.
  • Express themselves – Quite often students will be asked to explain how a piece of music makes them feel. Younger students are given ample opportunities to express themselves through movement or drawing while listening to music. As they begin to learn to play instruments children can begin to express themselves through the act of creating music either alone or with others.
  • Evaluate – While listening to music students are given the opportunity to evaluate existing compositions, classmates compositions and works of their own. They are also always evaluating there own progress at a given task.

Music can be connected to other subject areas

Students can write short melodies for poems they are studying in English class and then perform them or explore the music of the country they are learning about in social studies. Music teachers can work with other teachers to create lessons that easily connect to other subjects.

Understand the World Around Them

Music plays an important role in many societies, thus learning about the music within their society, as well as other societies helps them to better understand the world in which they live. In music class students are introduced to music of many cultures. They learn the role of music and the value that each culture, including their own, places on music.    A wonderful example of this is African Hand Drumming. Whenever I introduce hand drumming we discuss the materials they are made of, how they are made, and their importance to the African culture. I often show numerous videos which show people playing them, as well as, people dancing.

Playing Musical Instruments fuels the Brain

Most children receiving a music education will be given numerous opportunities to play musical instruments. It is believed and many studies have shown that reading music while playing an instrument exercises the brain on many levels. Playing a musical instrument (I also include the voice, as it is our most powerful instrument) can provide:

  • Feelings of Accomplishment – It is a great milestone when a child learns to play a new note or a complete song for the first time. It is always a great joy to see children’s reactions after they have performed in their first concert or recital.
  • Discipline – Learning a musical instrument requires practice outside of scheduled class time. Students who want to succeed must dedicate free time to practice.
  • Self-Confidence – As children get better they begin to feel confident about what they are doing and achieving. Encouragement and praise from teachers and parents also help children build self-confidence.
  • Emotional outlet – For many children it is a way to express themselves. As with all musicians, children can use music as a way to escape from the stress of homework and other school activities.
  • Extra-curricular activity – Music provides an extra curricular option for those students who may not enjoy playing sports. Some of us were just not meant to be athletes. Attending rehearsal before or after school is a very important part of school life for many children who enjoy music. This also includes trips to performances and festivals. As a student one of my favorites things was school band trips whether they were only for the day or for a few nights.
  • Desire to succeed in other areas – When children begin to experience success and accomplishment in music they begin to strive for the same feelings in other areas of their schooling.
  • Career option – It is no secret that many students who receive music education in grade school continue on to music programs in college or university. Career options include performance, composition, education, and recording. These careers options are much less accessible to students who do not have access to music education.

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Music For Life

There are so many reasons that music is beneficial to children. The benefits of a sound music education in school can reach far beyond the school years. Music is for life. We will all grow older and be less able to participate in physical activities such as sports but we can continue to play music well into our senior years.

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The Last Word

There is no question that all children should have access to a music education. The many positives far exceed the negatives. My hope is that people who question the importance of music education for children can come to understand why it should have a place in the education system. I also hope that music educators and musicians continue to fight for musics place in all children’s education.  All music educators realize that not all students will continue on and become a professional musician but at least they have been given the opportunity to make an informed decision. Just as they have been given the opportunity to choose science, math or English.  Please feel free to add to these reasons in the comment section.

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23 thoughts on “The Importance of Music Education For Children

  1. Very inspirational content, I am a musician myself and I will definitely agree with all the points covered. Even if You are not going to be a professional musician You should definitely know the basics of music! It is a huge part of our world, and should be obligatory like maths.

  2. I agree that music education for children is a great influence and help in children’s lives.

    A few years back I was in charge of researching some positive points to showcase during a benefit dinner for our hign school Jazz band. It was called An Evening of Jazz.

    What I found is that music increases SAT and ACT scores, students get better grades in other classes, it helps with relationships, and ther are less anger issues with childrenwho participate in some sort of music program. There was so much more statistics that I just can’t remember, but save it to say, it was a big eye opener.

    Thanks for the post, I hope it reaches a lot of people who question it’s importance.

    1. The research regarding the benefits of music is huge. I see first hand the effects of music on children who are receiving a solid music education. I, myself, am a prime example. Music was far more then a subject for me. It was and still is my life. Without music I truly believe I would be a very different person today. Thanks for the comment and stepping up to help promote music in the education system.

  3. I agree with you here, I think music can heal, so they say… Just now I was playing some cat musics for my cat and she seems much more relaxed. Back when I was at school, we only learned the flute… which was not very fun. I think if we can have more access to music and allowing the kids to play some songs they like instead of just classics will help them feel better about learning.

    1. You make a very good point about playing music the children like. Quite often we focus on the classics and forget to connect it to what they are listening to outside of music class. in my classes I always ask my students to complete an assignment which requires them to pick a song they like and present it the class. It allows the students to share something they like and introduces me(the teacher) to the music they are listening to right at that moment. I’ve actually discovered many new favorites that way. Thanks for the comment. There is certainly power in music.

  4. I totally agree with you. Music can bring so many changes and impacts on one’s life and yet our education system is not teaching enough. I work with children with autism and I have seen many children undergoing music therapy which brought many changes to the children’s behaviour, mood, compliance, attitude and many more aspects.

    1. Great comment and point regarding children with special needs. There have been many studies regarding autism and music. I have to say I haven’t taught an autistic child yet that hasn’t displayed a likeness for music and playing musical instruments.And thank you for giving your time to autistic children!! It must be a truly rewarding job.

  5. Hi Melody, great article! You nailed it on music giving children a feeling of accomplishment. Young or old it is definitely an emotional outlet whether you are playing or listening to music.

  6. Hey There!
    You are so right about music! i think you have really touched on the important aspects of learning music…especially for children, there are so many children out there that are so talented with music yet there is no one to teach them or to “bring” the gift out of it. I loved all the points you mentioned..as a musician myself I feel that you have related well! Thank You!!
    Take Care! Shane!

    1. Thanks for reading! I am very passionate about music education. I would have been lost without music in school. It was my life and still is. It breaks my heart when I hear of programs being cut or removed all together. It seems that only those who have been touched by the power of music can see the true benefits. The truth is all Children can benefit from music, even if they don’t become musicians. We need informed audiences too.

  7. Excellent article! I agree completely with you, music is fundamental in development. I have always thought that children should be taught music in school due to the many benefits, and if not in school they should be taught at home! What, do you think, would be a good age to start younger children in learning and/or practicing an instrument?

    1. I think we should be introducing our children to music right from the beginning. When they are toddlers they can learn to appreciate instruments and realize they are not toys. I think all children are different with regards to teaching them how to formerly play an instrument. My daughter, at 4 years, can imitate rhythms on her drum set and follow my fingers on the piano but I will not start teaching her how to read until she can read letters and understand their purpose.

      I think the schools have the right idea with starting them at 5 years. They learn a lot about beat and rhythm in their first year of school, and it doesn’t take them long to catch on. I worked with several primary classes yesterday that have already (Less then 2 months of school) discovered their singing voices and can express themselves through movement.

      It really depends on the child’s development. The parent will see when their child is ready to sit through a formal lesson and commit to a regular practice schedule. The key is to not to force them. We don’t want to push them away before they start. Whats great is its never too late!

      That was a fantastic question! Thanks!

  8. I’ve got both of my kids in music classes right now. They are both getting started in the Music For Young Children program.

    I believe an early start will help them with many of the benefits you list here like multi-tasking, expressing themselves, and more.

    It was nice and reassuring to read your article on the importance of music education for young children.

    1. Thats great that you are giving your children the chance to experience music early. It is so beneficial for all children and adults. I don’t believe that we even understand the full power that music can have on us. I have also written a few more posts that discuss the importance of music for children. Here are links.

      Musical Instruments For Young Children – Why?

      Music And Toddlers: A Pathway to Development

      Musical Instruments for Toddlers: Encouraging Development Through Music

      I hope you enjoy them. These articles will just make you more confident in your decision. :)

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  9. Great Page! I completely agree with everything here and am glad someone finally posted something about it. The Content was fantastic, however I coudn’t tell if you were trying to argue that music is seen as a lesser acedemic subject compared to the others, or if you were trying to persuade parents to get their kids involved in music. besides that this is a great site.

    1. Hi Anthony! I think I was doing a little bit of both. As an educator I have seen music get pushed to the back burner more then once. I feel that it is our duty to teach others about the importance and benefits of music education in the school systems all over the world.

      I also feel as a parent that music education is extremely important for my child. My daughter is lucky in that she will always be in the presence of music because of me. I often teacher her things that I would do in the classroom. But many children don’t have that same opportunity and that’s not the parents fault in any way. I truly believe the school systems should be showing our children all of the career options available and music is one of them. I am proof!

      Thanks Anthony for comment! I didn’t realize it was a little unclear. :)

  10. This site is very interesting to me as I am still in Musical Education it is close to my heart. I agree with all the points on here especially about expressing yourself! In the UK they are trying to cut down on Music in education by not including it the full syllabus. This would be a dreadful thing to happen as I’m sure you would agree?

    1. The lose of any music program is devastating! I believe the arts in school is crucial for a child’s development. It is certainly our job as educators to promote and fight for music programs in our school systems. I think the focus tends to be too centered around costs rather then the actual needs of the children. I certainly hope the UK revisits their decision. We have issues regarding budget cuts and its affect on the delivery of the arts here in Canada as well. It can be very disappointing to see programs disappear when they should be growing. It was actually heartwarming to see new music program introduced to a high school here in Nova Scotia for the upcoming school year. What a great addition for the students.

      Thanks for stopping by! Love meeting fellow music lovers!

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