The benefits of music study are indisputable. Numerous studies draw a correlation between music study and improved mathematical skills. The heightening of sound sensitivities associated with musical training is also found to improve verbal skills and a greater ease in learning second languages. At Music Blocks students may commence piano study at a relatively young age-as early as 1st grade. At this age, the lessons provide an opportunity to tap into the student’s natural aural awareness that is still highly sensitive and ripe for development.
Instrumental study is a uniquely enriching motor activity. Playing an instrument involves interpretation of vast amounts of information simultaneously: pitch or interval recognition, rhythm-the precise timing applied, coordination of left and right hand, dynamic levels and articulation (specific weight and speed of touch) and all of those elements interpreted on multiple lines read together. As such, instrumental training has found to enhance working memory, verbal intelligence and executive functions (mental flexibility and self-control.) Furthermore, in a study conducted by the psychiatrists at the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that playing an instrument helps focus the child’s attention in a way that helps them control emotions and even overcome anxiety-which is so critical in todays’ school age children.
It is the active engagement and sustained attention involved in learning to play an instrument can that causes measurable brain changes according to a recent study conducted at the San Francisco Conservatory of music. This same study demonstrated how piano lessons can encourage kids to embrace a 'growth mindset' "-seeking out challenging learning environments because they see difficult tasks as a path to "mastery", leading to better performance academically and ultimately more successful careers. Children of underserved communities stand to benefit the most from instrumental music study. Socioeconomic status can influence a student's level of confidence and perseverance, with kids from low-income homes being less likely to embrace this growth mindset. Music study, and piano lessons in particular have proven to be an effective way to change a student's mindset and in doing so can help these students overcome some of the challenges of poverty. Even limited music training can improve reading and language skills with the benefits evident especially in children with learning disabilities. Click here for the full article on the SFCM study Music for Every Child.
Piano study provides the basic building blocks for successful study of any instrument. It offers a foundation of music literacy that can foster so many opportunities for students to find their voice, their own community as they enter Middle and High School; offering an easier transition to, for example, band, orchestra or choir ensembles. At Music Blocks the goal is to give all children regardless of income level the ability to discover and pursue with confidence, the passion that might drive their academic purpose.
Click here for a link to an article on the importance of piano lessons in childhood.