I have recently started teaching with the Modern School of Music keyboard, piano and guitar. I have a twice exceptional child aged 8 who is also learning piano and a daughter who is learning guitar from another teacher. I would like to know what peoples experience is with their child/ren learning a musical instrument as to whether and how it influences their learning and behaviour in the classroom and at home. I have done some literature reviews on the subject with scant results though the benefits of learnign music are often sighted in GATED books.
DOes anyone have experiences that they are willing to share or know of specific pieces of evidence that have been published in this area?
I'm sure there was something in the herald in the last month or so (have a look online) about how learning music at a young age helps people to maintain their memory at an older age (some research that had been done)!.
Good luck - would love to see if you find any info as have a ds learning music through the NZ Modern School of Music.
My nephew learns at the Modern School of Music - I went to the competitions last year and actually cried at the beauty of so many children playing pieces they loved in such a supportive atmosphere. Really great. My own sons learn Suzuki violin and conventional piano.
I've searched through my Suzuki notes - we have parents' evenings where we discuss exactly what you're asking, among other things. I can't find any of the right papers! However, there was definitely concrete research that music helps with other academic subjects. In particular I can remember:
The memory work involved with learning pieces by heart is directly transferable to other subjects, and not usually enhanced in the same way by other hobbies or subjects. This memory work grows slowly so that by the teen years the children are able to remember the correct sequence of many long concertos, etc. Sequential patterns are hard for some twice exceptional children. Music seems to be the missing thread to hold the patterns together.
The part of the brain used for music is right beside the part of the brain used for mathematics. This means that working in music can help the child's maths, and vice versa, because the parts share many neural connections and the general area of the brain is stimulated at the same time.
One article quipped that: People used to say that the kids in the orchestra are there because they were really bright, now it's more correct to say that they are really bright because they are in the orchestra.
Music, dance and the rhythm of poetry is something we co-evolved with. It is how we remembered histories and knowledge that needed to be remembered. The brain has a huge capacity for using music to remember things, and it mostly lies there unused.
I'll post again if I find I've actually kept any of this stuff. In the meantime, maybe a search will be more productive with some of the ideas above. Good luck.
hello, I was really interested in this post. My boy has been learing the violin from age of 3 through the suzuki method. He has learned how to learn and that everything doesn't just come easy. Its really helped him as he is a perfectionist and he used to have a melt down if he played a wrong note, but now aged5 he has learnt its ok to make mistakes and that its part of learning. Music has really helped him even though it has not been easy at all for me or him as it brought lots of issues to the fore..but we have been able to deal with at an early age and help him all because of music. So although I am by no means a professional...I do recommend learning an instrument. Good luck!
Our son learnt keyboard through Yamaha at age 4 and composed his first piece of music as part of the class, because the teacher was open to extending her students. He is now studying composition at Uni, alongside other subjects.
The most important thing in his musical education for us was to find the right teachers (he plays three instruments) who were prepared to work "non-linearly" with him and be aware of his broad musical interests. Those who wanted to work slowly, step by step did not work out for us and I'm glad we came to know some wonderfully creative people along the way. Practice was never an issue when there was a "big picture" musical context to his learning!
He is now a motivated and self-disciplined student of both music and other subjects.
Both my children started playing violin at 4. My strongly left handed daughter was taught to play right handed for obvious reasons if she were to later play in an orchestra, we wish. Anyway, at 4 she used to hitch skip favouring her dominant side and within 2-3 months of starting violin and being forced to cross over and develop the right side of her body / left side of her brain she had co-ordinated her skipping and never looked back. Sadly she played violin until 10 years old and then stuggled to fit the practise in and just lost her passion for it so she quit. However I am certain she still enjoys many benefits gained from that early music tuition from gross and fine motor skills to focus and concentration, practise and perseverance, improved memory, to the ability to easily pick up another instrument. My husband and I are forever hopeful she will go back to her violin, we miss Vivaldi around our house.
My son on the other hand swapped his violin for a guitar at 8 years old and by 10 had already out grown 2 guitar tutors. When he was really challenged by his current teacher we were astonished and awed by the incredible results. His instrument of choice now at just turned 13 is electric guitar which he plays by ear including complicated lead solos. He has a phenomenonal memory for music. We are not sure how much of this can be attributed to early music tuition or whether we have inadvertently stumbled upon another area of gifted ability. Whatever the reason the point is passion, he plays because he loves to play. Had we made him continue with the violin which he was very good at but not overly passionate about he may well have quit by now and never had the opportunity to discover his real musical talent. I will close then by saying I believe there are enormous benefits to be gained by learning a musical instrument, but that it should be enjoyed not endured.