It improves academic skills
Music and math are highly intertwined. By understanding beat, rhythm, and scales, children are learning how to divide, create fractions, and recognize patterns. It seems that music wires a child's brain to help him better understand other areas of math, says Lynn Kleiner, founder of Music Rhapsody in Redondo Beach, CA. As kids get older, they'll start reciting songs, calling on their short-term memory and eventually their long-term memory.
It develops physical skills
Certain instruments, such as percussion, help children develop coordination and motor skills; they require movement of the hands, arms, and feet. This type of instrument is great for high-energy kids. String and keyboard instruments, like the violin and piano, demand different actions from your right and left hands simultaneously. Enhancing coordination and perfecting timing can prepare children for other hobbies, like dance and sports.
It cultivates social skills
Group classes require peer interaction and communication, which encourage teamwork, as children must collaborate to create a crescendo or an accelerando. If a child is playing his instrument too loudly or speeding up too quickly, he'll need to adjust. It's important for children to know and understand their individual part in a larger ensemble.
It refines discipline and patience
Learning an instrument teaches children about delayed gratification. The violin, for example, has a steep learning curve. Before you can make a single sound, you must first learn how to hold the violin, how to hold the bow, and where to place your feet. Playing an instrument teaches kids to persevere through hours, months, and sometimes years of practice before they reach specific goals, such as performing with a band or memorizing a solo piece.
It boosts self-esteem
Lessons offer a forum where children can learn to accept and give constructive criticism. Turning negative feedback into positive change helps build self-confidence, in particular, may help children understand that nobody, including themselves or their peers, is perfect, and that everyone has room for improvement. And, of course, once a child is advanced enough, she'll possess musical skills that will help her stand out.
It introduces children to other cultures
By learning about and playing a variety of instruments, kids can discover how music plays a critical role in other cultures. For instance, bongos and timbales may introduce children to African and Cuban styles of music. Although the modern-day violin has roots in Italy, learning to play it exposes children to classical music popularized by German and Austrian musicians.