Many people, including me, were enrolled in different instrument lessons. Personally, I was enrolled in piano lessons at a young age. When I was older, I asked my mom why she enrolled me into piano lessons, and her response was “because every other parent was enrolling their children in piano lessons.”
Then, I became curious as to why many parents enrolled their children in piano or other instrument lessons. Is it because musical training makes you more intelligent?
Some research has shown that musical training has a positive effect on brain development. According to Frontiers in Neuroscience, children who experience musical training have better memory, reading ability and executive functions. They also stated that learning to play an instrument can predict a child’s academic performance and IQ.
However, not all the research is conclusive. While one study found that learning to play an instrument helps a student’s cognitive skills, in another study, they found that it has no effect on a child’s cognitive skills. In a study by Harvard psychologists, they conducted two experiments to find if a child’s cognitive skills improved after musical training.
In Experiment 1, they compared the effects of child music education on specific cognitive skills in preschool children with children that received a different form of arts instruction. In Experiment 2, they compared the effects of parent-child music education on specific cognitive skills in preschool children with children who received the same music instruction after rather than before the cognitive testing. From their study, their report did not provide consistent evidence that shows that music training makes someone more skillful and intelligent.
ScienceDaily reports on a study conducted by researchers Giovanni Sala at Fujita Health University, Japan, and Fernand Gobet at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In their study, they examined the impact of music training on children’s non-music cognitive skills and academic achievement. The conclusion they made from this study is that music training is ineffective at enhancing cognitive or academic skills.
It seems that in some situations musical training does not necessarily improve cognitive or academic skills, but in others, it does improve skills. Knowing this, should parents continue to sign their kids up for music?
I believe parents should continue to put their children in musical training because the little possibility of benefiting our cognitive or academic skills is better than having no possibility of any benefits.
In addition, music is not just about the skills you can gain from it, but it is also a form of expression and a way to bring everyone together. At the end of the day, everyone should experience musical training not just for the possibility of improving our cognitive skills but for the art, culture, and enjoyment of it.