The benefits of music lessons are almost endless — many are fascinatingly compelling. We’ve posted a page of data from studies proving the various benefits and there are countless more – but here are two that we find especially interesting:
- music lessons create happiness
- music lessons develop the soft skills needed for success
Music Lessons Create Happiness
That’s a bold statement! But it’s true. Our students often tell us that learning to play an instrument isn’t just fun, it makes them happy.
Part of the magic in learning music is that it’s creative – it uses the brain’s right hemisphere as opposed to the more logical and analytical left hemisphere. Learning creatively can make us better able to navigate life’s challenges. One of our students said it beautifully:
When I’m feeling down or blah, I can go into my room and play the guitar. That lifts my spirits!
Which is the Happiest Instrument?
The instrument itself seems to make no difference, whether it’s piano, guitar, voice, strings, or drums. Students grow creatively, and that taps into happiness!
We’ve watched our students grow in terms of their skill, confidence, flexibility, and resilience for decades. And don’t those qualities make for a happier person? It’s not a stretch at all to say that one of the benefits of music lessons is happiness.
And there’s more. Perhaps you’ve seen this elsewhere on our site: musical involvement also improves academics, and – are you ready? – opens the door to higher levels of intelligence.
Brilliance – A Benefit of Music Lessons?
This seems like a stretch, doesn’t it? But Albert Einstein said that he was an average student before he began learning music.
Wait, did Albert Einstein really say that?
He did. Albert Einstein said he was an average student before he began learning music? That means he attributed his genius – at least partly – to learning and playing music. Hmmm. There’s something going on here.
Einstein’s son Hans said that the violin was an important part of his father’s work, adding that whenever his father couldn’t solve a problem, he would go to his music room and play his violin.
Okay, that’s pretty impressive. But are you ready? Einstein specifically attributed his famous discovery (E = mc2) to his involvement with music.
It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.
So music has benefits that go a lot deeper than any post could cover – and deeper than many of us can begin to understand.
What did Einstein mean when he said “musical perception” led him to his discovery? If we take the phrase apart, it seems appropriate to believe that when a person is deeply involved in music his/her perceptions, awareness, and understandings open up.
We think Einstein’s musical perception gave him a doorway into understanding and integrating profound ideas and concepts that were beyond normal understanding. At the very least, the term “musical perception” offers some new ways of thinking about learning.
Musical Perception and Learning
Although American education has historically focused on the acquisition of information, times are changing. The technological revolution we’re now experiencing requires different skills and abilities. It’s requiring skills that used to be dismissed as “soft skills” like flexibility, critical thinking, and the ability to think creatively.
Soft? Perhaps those skills are more difficult to nail down — to quantify — but few of us are naturally flexible or creative thinkers, and developing those skills makes for a more well-rounded and productive person.
Now that the worldwide technological revolution is upon us, companies are looking for a different kind of worker. They no longer want workers who are good at memorizing information and following orders, they want the skills that come with creativity.
Soft Skills for the Future
According to the Future of Jobs 2020 report, global employers see soft skills as rising in prominence. These include:
- critical thinking
- complex problem-solving
- initiative and
- emotional intelligence.
Soft Skills for Success
Those skills make a person adaptive. Frankiewicz and Chamorro-Premuzic wrote in the Harvard Business Review that talent, not technology skills, is increasingly becoming the top prize:
In our view, [companies should] invest in those who are most adaptable, curious, and flexible in the first place. Since nobody knows what the key future hard skills will be, the best action is to bet on the people who are most likely to develop them.
These abilities are acquired quite naturally through creative involvement and learning, which brings us full circle to … music lessons!
Soft Skills – Benefits of Music Lessons!
There are hundreds of studies on the “soft skill” benefits of learning music, and this statistic from the National Center for Education Statistics says it well:
Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education. National Center for Education Statistics. “Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, 1999-2000 and 2009-2010.” National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 24, 2015.
So, those of us in the business of teaching music are very optimistic that the benefits of learning music will become increasingly understood … the time just needed to be right.
Soft Skills and Courtnay & Rowe Music Academy
Our teachers at Courtnay & Rowe are uniquely competent to equip students for success in today’s changing world because they focus on how students are learning rather than just what they’re learning. This means they focus on developing students’ strengths and supporting their limitations. It’s a powerful approach to learning.
When students develop their strengths through creatively learning music, they feel strong and personally capable, unafraid of learning new things.
They are also more willing to take the necessary risks to become flexible, original, and resilient — and more likely to take initiative.
Students who feel strong and capable are also more apt to listen to their musical perceptions — those intuitive, almost mysterious understandings we equate with Einstein’s genius. Perhaps his musical perceptions relate to the soft skill called ‘emotional intelligence? What do you think?
Reap the Benefits of Music Lessons!
Would you like to help your child develop her creativity? If your family isn’t currently enrolled in music lessons with Courtnay & Rowe, please contact us to get started.