By Jeff Comas, Director of Knoxville Academy of Music
“The effect of music on our bodies” has been a topic of scientific studies for a very long time. We all remember listening to our favorite singer or band for extensive hours and how it lifts our mood and cheers us up. This is important to remember because we all know that modern studies have shown the effects of mood on our overall health, good mood and stress-free life leads to longevity, whereas stress can lead to heart diseases and many brain related dysfunctions. Music therapy has become very popular to reverse some of the effects of old age but what is being given slightly less attention is the huge amounts of benefits listening and learning to play music can have for your child in the long run.
According to recent studies, learning to play music gives you benefits for your whole life, even if you’ve stopped playing your instrument. This includes the slower rate of mental aging for people who learned to play music at a young age versus who never did. The people who learned to play music have quick reaction times and high levels of brain activity for a very long period of their lives which is highly beneficial for their well-being.
Children who are undergoing music lessons in one study, had much better verbal and visual skills…
Old age diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are a result of a decline in one’s cognitive abilities, and it has been observed in multiple researches that the former music players have a heightened awareness of their surroundings and better cognitive functions which can be observed and have been measured in lab situations. From these observations, it can be easily concluded that the investments made for the learning of music in the earlier stages of life reap benefits throughout the remainder of it.
Children who are undergoing music lessons in one study, had much better verbal and visual skills when compared to their peers who didn’t take any music lessons. Those who were learning music were also found to have a better intelligence quotient (IQ) because of the superiority in verbal skills.
We’ve discussed in the introduction how mood can have an effect on our overall well-being, it must be remembered that music has a huge role in altering our mood. Music has the potential to evoke certain kinds of responses in the listeners, for example, some music can help us process sadness and sorrow or feel sympathy, while other music may make us feel joy and cheer us up. This effect is amplified in the case of kids who are already full of energy, the secretion of dopamine from listening to happy songs can really make all the difference and provides kids with nearly the same level of happiness as they would get from eating chocolate or getting a reward.
Insomnia was once a problem experienced mostly by adults. Kids used to fall asleep the moment they fell on the bed after a long tiring day at school and with friends after school but technology has changed many things and the kids today are not active as their predecessors so many end up suffering from insomnia. Now, music has been shown to reduce heart rates which in turn can induce sleep so this is a good trick to have up your sleeve, when your kids have trouble sleeping during the night.
Regardless of your lifestyle and the activities of your children, it is always a good idea to incorporate music lessons in it, it’ll help them for a very long time.
Until next time,
Jeff Comas started playing music at 5 years of age. He is the Director of Knoxville Academy of Music. He has been a music educator since 1989, and has given over 40,000 music lessons.