Parents often ask when to begin music lessons for their children. Our short answer is that it is NEVER too early for a child to begin music lessons. Of course, we’re using the term “music lessons” loosely, but a musical involvement? Now’s the time.
Before we tell you why, we’d better clear up the confusion we may have just created. We are not recommending formal music lessons for your very young child (under 4). But music involvement? Definitely!
Dancin’ with My Baby
That’s a title from an old romantic tune, but if you’ve got that lovin’ feeling for your little baby, why not? Playing music in the home, swaying or dancing with your baby (even in utero!) will provide so many of music’s inherent benefits. We’ll explain those below.
The Window of Opportunity
Research shows that a “window of opportunity” for learning opens at birth and closes around 9 or 11, depending on which study you read. A child’s brain grows incredibly fast during this time, and neurons form connections (neural pathways) to other neurons at a rate faster than will ever happen again in a person’s lifetime. Those pathways are gold for learning.
So yes, if you’re thinking about music lessons, the earlier you involve your child in music, the better. But there’s a big “however” involved. Those pathways are not specific to music or the arts in general. We also learn languages much faster during those years … and just about everything else.
So in reality, early childhood presents a big opportunity to learn anything. Yet, knowing what we know about the benefits of music lessons, we can confidently call it a Musical Window of Opportunity.
Why a “Musical Window of Opportunity” – Why Music Lessons?
So, why does The Music Studio Atlanta promote music lessons as the end all to be all during this window of time? Because a happy child learns best, and virtually every child thrives on being involved in the arts.
Right now you may be wondering why music might trump the arts – drawing, for example. Our answer is simple. If your child draws on everything whenever possible, consider art lessons. But otherwise?
It’s simple. For many children, music rules.
Why Music Rules in Childhood
It’s not complicated. Music is fun. Music is rhythmic. Music communicates emotions, and it can make us dance inside or move like there’s no tomorrow. Music resonates deeply with children in a nonintellectual, even (may we say it?) primal way. It touches that real place within us, that beautiful, spirited energy that is who we are.
Here’s another important point. Music speaks to children in ways they are still able to hear, mostly because they have not yet become too ‘civilized’ or intellectual. It energizes them and sparks their curiosity.
Just think about what that does to their ability to learn.
An Engaged Child Learns, But a Bored Child?
Of course we all want to keep our children stimulated and engaged, and music lessons are one solid way to do that. Why? Because children are innately rhythmic and musical.
Watch children on a playground, and you’ll get the idea. What do they do during the precious time they can do whatever they want?
They’re singing rhythmic chants while jumping rope or playing hopscotch, or engaged in rhythmic hand games (one potato, two potato …), or singing and clapping, singing and twirling … the possibilities are endless. They’re creative and engaged. Engaged and happy.
Fun = Engaged = Happy = The Music Studio Atlanta Music Lessons!
Fun is the key here, and it’s something we focus on at The Music Studio Atlanta. Real learning only happens when students are engaged, and since learning music can be fun, we make sure it is. Music sparks the creative spirit, and that feels good. Hmm. That feels fun!
Learning doesn’t really happen if lessons aren’t engaging. In fact, if they aren’t engaging and fun (most of the time, that is), music lessons can be downright detrimental.
Soft Skills for the Future
According to the Future of Jobs 2020 report, soft skills are increasingly important skills that global employers see as rising in prominence in the run up to 2025. These include:
- critical thinking
- complex problem-solving
- initiative and
- emotional intelligence.
Research shows that a person with these skills is also more likely to work well on a team.
These skills are acquired quite naturally through creative learning and involvement, which brings us back to … music lessons!
Soft Skills for Success
Through the ages, people have mused about the constancy of change, but it’s never been anything like this. We’re living in an era of rapid-fire, unrelenting change which means we’d better become more creative.
As Frankiewicz and Chamorro-Premuzic wrote in the Harvard Business Review that talent, not technology skills, are 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.”
We say this elsewhere on our site, but Einstein’s famous quote bears repeating here:
“It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.” MORE Link to Benefits of Music page
The term self-expression sounds tired and trite. That’s too bad because the drive for self-expression is strong in human beings. Even if you don’t consider yourself creative (which we don’t believe is possible, by the way, just call us and ask), chances are you still experience a need to express yourself.
That drive is so strong, it’s unavoidable. Literally. You can’t do anything but express yourself. And if we don’t have creative, positive ways to express ourselves, guess what? Ah, but you probably already guessed.
Children who are unable to express their innate nature, that core of who they are, are very likely to express themselves in negative ways. But children with avenues for positive self-expression such as music lessons, are likely to be happier and more content, with much less negative behavior.
Finally, if your child possesses an especially strong talent in music, this must be developed. Not necessarily for the purpose of her becoming a professional musician, but because it’s a passion and ability that needs to be satisfied. If it’s not, she may always feel something is missing in life, she just can’t quite put her finger on it.
Students who participate in the arts are also more likely to excel in school – studies abound about that as well. When we consider these findings we always return to our philosophy of the necessity of fun in a child’s life. As we said earlier, if a child is happy and engaged, she’ll learn.
We hope we’ve given you enough to consider in one read, so we’ll end on this note: Ta-da!! Please contact us so you can get your family started on music lessons today!