Music’s Incredible Impact on Academic Success4 min read
The therapeutic value of music is undisputed in healing and improving the lives of people across the globe. Many parents opt to send their children for music lessons, not only for cultural enrichment, but also to improve discipline and the capacity to stick long term with the study of a skill.
Today’s young scholars are exposed to music constantly. Many may even choose to listen to music during studying because they claim it helps with analyzing, memorizing, and relaxing. If true, music can be a powerful tool in contributing to academic success. But what does the research say?
Many studies point to the importance that music has on cognitive development and the important effect on the cerebral cortex region that exposure to music can have for children. While contributing to brain development, music also contributes to socialization and the reduction of stress, all crucial elements in academic performance.
Music Can Aid Improvement in Reading and Math
Apart from the obvious in which young musicians study rhythms, intervals, and symbols, research has indicated that the participation in musical studies and activities has significant relevance in both reading and mathematical achievement.
One study found a link between improved spatial temporal tasks and music. This indicates that students will have an easier time with fundamental arithmetical skills.
A Northwestern study suggested that neural processing improved in students that played an instrument as opposed to those that only listened to it. Studies by Schellenberg (2004, 2006, 2011) also indicate that musical training boosted IQs.
The challenge of understanding the complexity of musical concepts, even at a young age, can prepare the mind for the study of more complex subjects. Problem solving and analysis, which are essential for academic success, may prove to be easier as a result.
Music Aids Language Development
Music is closely related to speech and language. The part of the brain that is used in speech is the same that is activated in language and music.
Research suggests that the development of musical capabilities will also aid language, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Music Improves Discipline
An immediate benefit that comes with studying any instrument is strengthening discipline and resolve. Whether students study music as a hobby or as a potential future career, the study of an instrument requires lots of time. Years of practicing contributes to the formation of individuals that are highly self-disciplined and self-motivated.
By studying both academics and music, the time dedicated to study is increased considerably which contributes to increasing endurance. It stands to reason that those with self-discipline will weather difficult challenges with better resolve.
Music Is Important in Stress Reduction
Academic studying is stressful, so anything that reduces stress becomes an important tool. Research suggests that listening to music can normalize body temperatures and lower heart rates thus reducing stress.
Academic performance is often compromised when students are overly stressed at exam time. If music has a relaxing effect on both bodies and mind, it becomes an important anti-stress tool that students can use to improve their academic performance. Other studies indicate that music can reduce burnouts.
Music Improves Self-Esteem and Psychological Well-being
A positive attitude is not limited to improving learning capabilities but can also positively influence relationships, engagement, and consequently accomplishment.
Research indicates that music does indeed have a positive influence on both psychological and physiological health.
For those that study music or are engaged in musical activities, they reap the benefits that come with the achievement of mastering a musical composition or performing in a musical ensemble. In this sense, music is an excellent confidence builder. Enjoying the reaction and appreciation of an audience is a form of enrichment. Belief in oneself and personal esteem are invaluable for academic success.
Music Can Aid Productivity
A specific research project in the workplace observed software engineers for a five-week period. Not only did music playing in the background aid in maintaining morale in the workplace, but it was found to positively influence productivity and the quality of work performance. If it works for professionals, there’s no reason to assume that it won’t work for students as well.
Music Therapy Can Change a Life
Whether used for treating trauma victims, dementia, or in those with autism, music is synonymous with wellness. Music therapy for autistic children has proven to be an innovative method for improving interaction, sociality, and bonding.
A Final Note
Plato stated that music gave “wings to the mind”. Numerous studies point to music as a mind shaper and as a tool for boosting brain functioning.
Noteworthy is the research performed by the non-profit Harmony Project with scientists from Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory. This project serves students who are underserved and would not normally have access to music instruction with free lessons and instruments. Scientists have already noted that children experience improvement in memory, attention, and communication skills.
Research continues to confirm the cognitive advantages associated with music, a concept that the Greek philosopher had already latched onto at least 2300 years ago.