Learning to Play a Musical Instrument Can Benefit Your Child

And Tools Available in the Digital Age Make It Easier than Ever Before

Many of us have that memory from our younger years: rushing home from school to get to those violin or piano lessons. I remember sitting in my childhood friend’s living room listening politely to the screech, screech, screech sound emerging agonizingly from her violin, her chubby fingers snarled around the bow as she stood awkwardly with the instrument hoisted on one shoulder.

Then there was my best friend in the fourth grade who played “Minuet 2” at every school concert and family gathering on the piano. I could hear the tempo dancing in my head before she even took her seat on the slick, black piano bench.

For me, it was the flute. After joining 7th grade band class, I had tepidly committed to the shimmering silver instrument because, frankly, it looked pretty. It was a relieving move away from the clarinet, which I didn’t really take to — the reed sitting in the mouthpiece tickled my bottom lip just a little too much and the sound emitting from the instrument was a bit too much like an angry goose. I realized this only after I managed to get my mouth to achieve the oh-so- difficult “embouchure” relatively correctly, but never quite perfectly.

So I abandoned the honky woodwind instrument for the elegant flute the first chance I got. The reasons were simple in my 12-year-old mind: fairies and other lithe creatures from folklore played the flute, I imagined. It was an image thing. My mother forced me to take flute lessons after I dropped out of band. After all, she had paid $250 for the instrument that currently rested in its tan box in the corner of my room. An investment not being put to good use. I took each lesson more as an irritant that came about once a week. Once my mom got tired of paying for the lessons, I never touched that flute again.

Learning to an instrument will make your child SMARTER

Apparently, it is a sum of these childhood moments that can bring a great deal of value in the shaping of young lives. While many of us were forced to learn those lessons, in the end there were some great overall benefits. Evidence has shown that learning how to play musical instruments will literally make your child smarter. There are marked benefits to their development when learning to play a musical instrument — it can have a positive impact on their brain.

According to this article in TIME, music can literally change your child’s brain.  But your kids can’t just be passive listeners. Journalist Melissa Locker writes, “They have to be actively engaged in the music and participate in the class.” Learning the music is the key.  In fact, getting your fingers working on those violins and guitars will make the difference. Locker goes on to say that, “Additionally, the study showed that students who played instruments in class had more improved neural processing than the children who attended the music appreciation group.”

Let’s be honest; as parents, we all want our kids to be smart and do well in school.  According to this article on the popular website Parents.com, it’s not just academic prowess that can be improved. A child’s physical abilities and ever-important social skills can also get a boost when kids participate in playing a favourite instrument. “String and keyboard instruments, like the violin and piano, demand different actions from your right and left hands simultaneously,” the author writes. While playing the drums can provide motor skills and coordination, kids can also learn teamwork and musical collaboration in a school band setting. These are important skills to have in a world where interacting with your peers in a positive way can shape your social happiness.

The Daily Mail Online agrees that those hours screeching out Bach on your violin in front of your parents at school concerts are not a complete waste of time.  Neuroscientist Professor Nina Kraus points out there is “strong evidence to show that music lessons help children improve their language skills.” Professor Kraus has led the initial research to demonstrate that playing a musical instrument significantly enhances the brain’s sensitivity to speech sounds.

Easier Learning for the Digital Age with Singspiel — and inexpensive!

Even if you don’t have access to a pricey music classes, there are always options in the age of mobile technology. One of them is called the Singspiel app, recently featured in the National Post and TechVibes, which touts itself as “music learning for the digital age.” With Singspiel, your child can learn to read real music and get feedback right away. You can check out the video in the header demoing the app, so you can see how it works. It’s great for anyone looking to get their kids started at learning the piano, without the hefty price tags of paying for music classes or a private instructor. And they can have fun doing it too, because the app adds some neat gaming elements to the whole process!

Oh, how I still secretly admire someone who can surprise a room full of acquaintances at a cocktail party by plunking down on the piano bench, tickling the ivories, and playing the score from Chariots of Fire to everyone’s’ pleasant surprise. Oh to be that person. How impressive is that?!

Unlock your kid’s musical potential today! Download the Singspiel app to get them started — it’s available on the AppStore.