By Julia Kossuth
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why students should participate in private lessons. After all, they have so many activities pulling at them between school and other extracurricular activities, why should they set time out of their week for private music lessons?
Besides the obvious reason of desiring to play the piano well and the natural passion for playing that some students exhibit, I’ve compiled a variety of reasons for children to take private music lessons.
The College Entrance Examination Board found that students involved in public school music programs scored 107 points higher on the SAT’s than students with no participation.
– Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board,
compiled by the Music Educators National Conference (2002)
U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.”
– U.S. Department of Education NELLS88 Database
A two-year Swiss study involving 1,200 children in 50 schools showed that students involved in the music program were better at languages, learned to read more easily, showed an improved social climate, showed more enjoyment in school, and had a lower level of stress than non-music students.
-Weber, E.W., Spychiger, M. & Patry, J.L. (1993)
Students develop various skills that help them succeed in life, including: creative approaches to problem solving, self-discipline, greater confidence, project long term goals and a way to reach them, and articulating a vision.
Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons.
Elementary age children who are involve in music lessons show greater brain development and memory improvement within a year than children who receive no musical training.
Learning and mastering a musical instrument improves the way the brain breaks down and understands human language, making music students more apt to pick up a second language.
As I’ve been keeping this in mind, it’s given me a fresh perspective as I teach. These kids are truly benefiting in many ways from their piano lessons and exposure to musical training, both short and long term. Have you seen any improvements or developments in your students that are not strictly music-related?