A child’s brain is going through constant stages of development, so parents want to find the best activities to have a positive impact on these developmental years. The pressure is on, because being able to enhance brain development can have a lifetime impact on the child.
Research shows that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Having enhanced language skills gives a child the advantage of being able to read and understand speech more easily – which has an enormous impact on their ability to learn. This means music education is an invaluable benefit to a child’s development – enhancing the brain in a way that will put them ahead for years to come. This makes music lessons an attractive option for parents who want to expose their children to activities that benefit the mind.
In 2008, a study done with 32 nonmusician children over 9 months showed the affect of music education on speech and reading abilities. The students were assigned to music or to painting training for 6 months. Those who studied music showed enhanced reading and pitch discrimination abilities in speech. Only 6 months of training significantly influenced the development of those neural processes in the brain. The abstract of the study records how “These results reveal positive transfer from music to speech and highlight the influence of musical training. Finally, they demonstrate brain plasticity in showing that relatively short periods of training have strong consequences on the functional organization of the children’s brain.”
According to an article by PBS.org, “Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds. Additionally, this relationship between music and language development is also socially advantageous to young children. According to Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician, “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.”
So exposing a child to music lessons does more than provide a great activity and build an appreciation for music, it also changes the course of their brain development to provide enhancements that will affect them the rest of their lives.