Mitch Cavens, Secondary Teacher
For a long time, music teachers have been attempting to convince families of the value of picking up a musical instrument for practice. Today, I hope to continue that trend and perhaps convince you to pick up and learn an instrument, or to encourage your children to do so.
Did you know that learning a musical instrument can increase the size of your brain? I am sure that reason alone is not particularly convincing, however, the research outlining the effects of musical training on the brain is so astounding that it certainly has convinced many parents to encourage their children to learn a musical instrument.
The following image was published in an article by researchers from the Laboratory of Brain Imaging and the Laboratory of Language Neurobiology at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. They investigated the effect of musical training on brain development.
This image describes some of wonderful effects of musical training on the brain. For starters, the size of the brain in key areas is increased. More importantly, areas of the brain affecting motor skills, speech, executive functioning, hearing, memory, emotions, reading, sensory skills, reward perception and movement coordination are exercised and improved.
As more and more neurology researchers investigate the effect of music on the brain, indications point to the importance of musical training for a developing child, from as young as 6 or 7 years old. Notwithstanding, the positive effect of musical training on the brain continues well into adulthood, and has even been shown to produce long term benefits in combating dementia and other memory-related deficiencies.
It is often the case that students who learn a musical instrument in Primary school stop playing during Senior school so that they can focus on their studies. However, I hope they are encouraged to persevere. The benefits of musical training are so great, that they are worth the effort of continuing into adulthood. Paying for your child to learn an instrument can be costly, but if you are a parent who has undertaken this expense, I encourage you to persist! Your sacrifice is worthwhile. And if you are a parent who has not ventured down the musical training path, I encourage you to investigate the positive effect of music on your child and yourself. If you play, they are more likely to.
Music is an incredible gift. It helps us develop physiologically and emotionally, but most importantly, we can grow spiritually through music that reminds us of the character and works of God. He has given us an amazing brain that can learn and appreciate music, so why don’t we use it to bring Glory to His Name.