Music is Good for You and it is not Fattening Illegal or Immoral...

By Paula Taylor, Windsor Press, Merchandiser, Volume 45, Number 6, Page 14, 2/2005

 

Studies conducted over the last several decades have repeatedly demonstrated that music really and truly is good for people. Children involved in music have better school grades and problem-solving skills and are more likely to go to college. Elderly people who play music retain their mental acuity and health. These findings are the, “tip of the iceberg,” of results from ongoing music/brain research. 

 

Children who have early exposure to music have better math and language skills. In 1989, Judy Ann Hove Harding of Montana State University studied the relationship between musical experience and language abilities in young children. She reported in, “The Relationship Between Music and Language Achievement in Early Childhood,” that children with musical experience have better skills in expressive language, reading and spelling. Other studies show similar effects on math skills. 

 

Debby Mitchell of the University of Central Florida reported in her 1994 paper, “The Relationship between Rhythmic Competency and Academic Performance in First Grade Children,” that students who had studied rhythmic skills performed better academically. Mitchell concluded that teaching musical timing to preschoolers develops cognitive skills related to academic success. In addition, musical participation seems to give children significant social benefits. As shown in the tables to the right , recent Gallop Polls highlight how these studies have led to a growing appreciation for the value of music in education in the U.S. 

 

ACADEMIC VALUE OF MUSIC IN EDUCATION OF THE YOUNG 

BENEFITS OF MUSIC - POLL RESPONDENTS WHO AGREE 

music in school is part of well-rounded education - 95% 

music should be in a regular school curriculum - 93% 

playing music corresponds to better grades - 85% 

making music “makes you smarter” - 80% 

 

SOCIAL VALUE OF MUSIC IN EDUCATION OF THE YOUNG 

BENEFITS OF MUSIC - POLL RESPONDENTS WHO AGREE 

playing music instills appreciation of art & culture - 97% 

music helps children make friends - 93% 

playing music helps develop self discipline - 88% 

playing music reduces teen disciplinary problems - 71% 

 

For older adults, playing music also provides tremendous benefits. In addition to giving pleasure, playing music improves emotional and physical health and mental acuity. In 1998, Frederick Tims, Chair of Music Therapy at Michigan State University, found that older people who study music with other seniors are less anxious, depressed and lonely; they have stronger immune systems and overall health. In other research, Tims found that musicians with Alzheimer’s retain memory better than non-musicians. Mature adults are finding that playing music helps them stay well. In our local area, mature adults are investing in themselves by beginning musical pursuits. At Meadowood Music many people who are 50, 60 and 70 years old purchased their first stringed instruments and began taking private instruction within the last two years. Without exception, these students are among the best in the store’s studios. As highlighted in 1997 and 2003 Gallop Poll results (tables to the right ), the entire U.S. is beginning to appreciate this affordable, accessible activity for our elders. 

 

VALUE OF MUSIC MAKING FOR OLDER ADULTS 

BENEFITS OF MUSIC - POLL RESPONDENTS WHO AGREE 

making music is a positive experience for seniors - 100% 

“I am not to old to play music” (at age 65+) - More than 50% 

 

 

The Gallop Polls also show (table to the right ) that playing music gives young and middle-aged adults as many benefits as it does children and seniors. For once, something that is fun is also good for us – all of us! For more music/brain research info, visit www.menc.org - Music Educators’ Association, www.amc.music.org - American Music Conference, or imr.utsa.edu - University of Texas’ Institute of Music Research. For information on stringed instruments and playing them, visit www.meadowoodmusic.com

 

VALUE OF MUSIC MAKING FOR EVERYONE 

BENEFITS OF MUSIC - POLL RESPONDENTS WHO AGREE 

making music gives life-long pleasure - 98% 

playing music is fun - 90% 

music brings a family together - 89% 

music is a very important part of life - 88%