You may be visiting my blog because you’re a parent who’s looking to enroll your child in a music class, but you’re not sure if it’s right for you or your child. Will it be worth the money? Will it be worth your time commitment? Will your child truly benefit from music classes?
With all the possible activities to choose from, many parents struggle to decide which activities are most worthwhile for their children. Which ones will aid in your child’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development? Which activities will give you the most “bang for your buck”? Well, as a concerned parent and a professional musician, I know that baby yoga, swimming classes, baby gymnastics, art classes, gardening classes, youth book clubs, dance lessons, and junior sports leagues will all benefit your child, but I also know that early childhood music education is one of the most beneficial activities of all. Countless studies have shown this to be true and I believe it wholeheartedly, which is why I’m also an early childhood music teacher (in the classroom and with my son at home)!
Marlene Markard with her son, Julian, at 6 weeks of age.
In this blog post, I’ll give you an overview of the top 10 benefits of early childhood music education. In future blog posts, I'll explore these in more detail, provide supporting documentation, and discuss even more benefits of early childhood music education and, in particular, the Musikgarten program that I teach.
I hear other moms tell me all the time that their child lacks focus, doesn’t listen to them, won’t follow instructions, is having a difficult time interacting with other children, is experiencing delayed language development, can’t self-soothe, is uncoordinated, or is struggling to organize information. “What can I do?,” they ask me. “Bring them to music classes and start making music together every day,” I tell them.
I’m not suggesting that music is the panacea for everything that beleaguers your child, but I’m suggesting that music has the power to help in many ways! Early exposure to music will stimulate the development of your child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills. It will help build the hard and soft skills that will be critical to your child’s happiness and success in school and throughout her life, regardless of the academic, social, or professional path she chooses.
What are the top 10 benefits of early childhood music education? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some would say “better SAT scores.” Others would say “better college admissions.” And others still would say “higher earning potential.” And they would all be right! Studies have consistently shown that people who have had extensive music education do do better on standardized tests, do get accepted to first-tier colleges, and do enjoy annual incomes of $150,000 or more. As an Ivy League graduate and former corporate attorney myself, it would be hypocritical for me to say better test scores, a first-rate college education, and higher earning potential aren’t important, because – for better or for worse - they are. But as a mother, a musician, and a music teacher, I’m far more interested in the underlying benefits of early childhood music education that support these kinds of life accomplishments and I believe those underlying benefits are:
Skilled and active listening
Graceful, confident, well-coordinated movement and body control
Improved focus and concentration
Creative self-expression, active imagination, and intellectual curiosity
Accelerated language development and communication skills
Abstract thinking, logical reasoning, and pattern recognition
Ability to organize information
Emotional intelligence and ability to empathize with others . . . and
Heightened social skills, sense of “personhood,” and respect for community.
In addition, early childhood music education can foster a life-long love of music and strengthen your parent-child connection as you share the joy (and, yes, the frustrations too!) of making music together. Of course, early exposure to music will also put your child on the path to music literacy and may even lead to a successful musical career.
Julian exploring the piano on his own at 14 months of age.
As you decide whether or not to enroll your child in a music class, please keep these things in mind. It doesn’t matter what your background is or whether you yourself can keep a steady beat, carry or tune, or move gracefully. What matters is that you recognize the importance of early childhood music education, that you share the joy of making music with your child, and that you do it as often as you can!
Owner, Markard Music, an early childhood music education studio