The most rapid and formative development in the area of learning takes place in childhood. This can be positively influenced in the long term by learning a musical instrument so that you still benefit from it in old age.
We will explain to you what influence making music has on the brain and provide you with helpful tips and information so that your child can enjoy making music.
Table of contents
Changes In The Brain
Improving Brain Activity
When we learn something new, our brain forms new synapses, and neural connections become more complex. Learning a musical instrument strengthens these connections in the brain. According to studies by Harvard neurologist Gottfried Schlaug, direct differences can be found between the brain structure of musicians and non-musicians.
This means that cognitive abilities improve as a result of playing an instrument. This has a positive effect on the child, his or her school performance, and perceptiveness.
Learning notes, as well as linking the note to the sound, trains the ear, which has positive long-term effects. Musicians have better hearing even in old age than those who do not play a musical instrument and can distinguish tones and word sounds well.
In addition, playing a musical instrument trains the interaction of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. For example, when playing string instruments such as the violin or cello, the hand with which the bow is held and the fingers on the strings must be coordinated. Training the left and right hemispheres of the brain has a positive effect on cognitive abilities and promotes long-lasting speech perception in old age.
Therefore, those who start playing a musical instrument prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in old age and preserve the ability to hear and speak well for a long time.
Positive Effects Of Music Lessons
Learning a musical instrument sometimes requires a lot of diligence, discipline, and perseverance. Therefore, it is important that your child enjoys playing the instrument and has a sense of achievement. These make the child proud and promote the child’s self-confidence, as well as the ability to assess their own skills.
The ability to master an instrument, to play according to notes, and to listen carefully to the tones is an important experience for the child and promotes mental development. In addition, the child becomes more attentive and learns to listen not only to himself, but also to the instrument, and, when playing in a group, to the instruments of others.
Music As A Balance
Not only listening to one’s favorite music but also playing an instrument releases endorphins. Music is a suitable break from learning at school and can be used as an outlet to relieve stress or process emotions.
During the lockdown, playing an instrument proves to be especially convenient, as this hobby can be easily performed and deepened at home. During the time spent at home, the child has a meaningful occupation that is also fun.
In addition, the child’s creativity is encouraged. Making music invites the child to try out new sequences of notes, perhaps even compose his or her own little pieces, and explore different melodies. Music lessons are not only about memorizing notes and pieces but also provide space for the child’s own creative expression.
This Is What You Should Keep In Mind
When children start playing an instrument, they are usually very proud and have a lot of fun at the beginning. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind so that your child doesn’t lose the joy of making music.
When To Start?
If you start playing a musical instrument at an early age, the impact on brain development is higher. However, it is important that the instrument is played for a long time. The first positive effects on the brain could already be observed in children who played an instrument for eleven months.
For playing the violin, violin teachers recommend an age of six years at the earliest; of course, it is also possible to start later. It is important that the desire to learn a musical instrument comes from the child itself. Don’t push your child to start playing, but encourage him or her to continue and practice once he or she begins and enjoys playing.
In principle, it is possible to start playing a musical instrument at any age. Even for adults, starting with a new instrument is worthwhile. The positive effects on the brain could even be proven in test persons who started playing an instrument when they were over 60.
The Right Form Of Instruction
Music lessons can take the form of group or individual lessons. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Individual lessons can be tailored to the individual needs of the child. The teacher adapts to the abilities of the student and can encourage and challenge them. Here progress is made in a short time and the student improves quickly.
If the child plays in the orchestra or in a group, the feeling of togetherness as well as social competence is strengthened. In the orchestra, it is important to listen to each other and to try out a piece together. Playing in a group can be very enjoyable and spur the child to practice.
Ultimately, the choice of lesson type depends on your child’s preferences. Whether individual lessons or playing in a group is preferred is very individual.
The Right Equipment
Be sure to choose the right size instrument for your child. For example, violins are available in ¼, ½, etc. sizes. Take into account the height of your child and, if necessary, get advice on which size is the right one.
The right equipment and accessories for the instruments are also important. When playing the piano, the right piano stool should not be missing, rosin is needed for the violin bow, and so on. Here, too, you can get advice at the music school or online.
Which Instrument Should I Choose?
Several factors play a role in choosing the right musical instrument. Of course, the wishes of your child are important, but also the costs must be considered. If your child decides to learn the piano, for example, it is advisable to first invest in a keyboard instead of buying a grand piano.
Learning a musical instrument is worthwhile in any case and is especially beneficial for children’s development. But you can also start learning a musical instrument at a later age. If you practice with discipline, but also with joy, the positive effects are noticeable both immediately – for example, the release of happiness hormones – and in the long term – in the form of a long preservation of cognitive abilities.