Music Tied to Academic Success: 3 Big Benefits of Music Education

Children who study music have higher scores in school and score better on standardized tests like the SAT. In addition to promoting academic success and brain development, music classes benefit younger children in many ways as they progress into more formal learning. This includes language development and listening skills, which both improve social confidence. 
Further, music learning supports all learning. Neuroscience research suggests “that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory, said.

1. Music Improves Test Scores (even IQ)
Students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, according to a study published by Christoper Johnson at the University of Kansas. A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in a 2004 issue of Psychological Science, found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons. 

2. Music Helps Language Development
Growing up in a musically rich environment helps children develop their language skills. “When you look at children ages two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development, which is so important at that stage,” Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, said. According to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine: “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent”  

3. Music Facilitates Other Learning
Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. “A child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously. For instance, people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles,” Kenneth Guilmartin, cofounder of Music Together, said. Music involves listening to yourself and to the rest of the ensemble. This helps auditory development in the brain. Playing music also develops hand-eye and total body coordination and teamwork.

Music education encompasses all other subjects, including math, science, language, history, global studies, foreign languages, and physical education.

At JCDS we place an importance on learning to read music as well as give our students many opportunities for performing on the stage. All students have music class once every six school day cycle. All grades work towards and perform together in a grade-level show so they gain experience performing before an audience in our auditorium or out in the community. Because of this, our graduates develop tremendous confidence and continue to perform strongly as they move onto middle and high school.

Through it’s performing arts program, “JCDS helps kids over the fear of being in front of people and performing,” alum Alex McGuire (‘10) said  (An accomplished flutist, Alex is currently a freshman at the Cleveland Institute of Music. After JCDS, she attended LaVilla for middle school and Douglas Anderson for high school.)

Also, there are many other musical avenues for JCDS students to explore. The school’s after school Enrichment program offers Band, Chorus, an Orff ensemble, and Drumline. Top local music teachers also hold lessons in piano, guitar, and other instruments after school. 

“I’m so thrilled that our school values the importance of music education for our students. Through music, our JCDS students are better prepared for academic success,” Virginia Dickert, who has taught music at JCDS for 24 years, said.
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Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.