Part of being a mum is helping a child grow into the best version of themselves. While it is easy to realise how important regular reading, socialization, and healthy foods are for brain development, other activities, like learning a musical instrument, can be equally beneficial. Learning to play the piano can help a child develop critical skills that can impact almost every other area in their life.
What Happens to the brain when playing music?
Research has found that when someone plays a musical instrument, it has a pretty astonishing effect on their brain. Using monitoring equipment like FMRI machines, neuroscientists have observed how playing music engages almost every part of the brain at once. Regular and disciplined practice especially heightens areas of the brain that control auditory, visual, and motor functions.
- Language and Memory Development
Regular music practice has been found to actually change the shape of the brain and boost cognitive functions such as attention, memory, and language development. The researchers explain a variety of ways memory and language are affected in children, making it easier for them to retain a larger vocabulary and even to learn another language.
- Playing the Piano Improves Concentration and Disciplin
Playing the piano teaches children to be more self-disciplined, attentive, and better at planning. This is due to the fact that playing music often leads to having higher levels of executive functions due to the fact that playing music requires simultaneous analysis of cognitive and emotional content. All of which affect academic performance as they grow into adults.
Having a piano at home and encouraging a child to do regular practices can have a big impact on many other aspects of their lives. Many are discouraged from larger instruments such as the piano since their size seems to suggest a large price tag. Of course, just with any instrument, the piano can be very costly, but there are ways to get a good quality instrument without having to take out a loan. You can pick up old, unwanted pianos on sites like Gumtree for very cheap and then talk to a company like Courtney Pianos about restoring an old instrument.
- It Can make Children Smarter
According to Lutx Jancke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, ‘learning to play a musical instrument can have definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points in both children and adults. In fact, many pre-school aged children who are having keyboard lessons actually score higher on comprehension tests.
- Improved Problem Solving
Playing music engages both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, by requiring the use of fine motor skills, linguist and mathematical precision of the right side, with the novel and creative right side. This engagement with both sides of the brain has been found to increase the volume and activity of the Corpus callosum, the bridge between the two sides of the brain. This allows a larger volume and variety of messages to move across the brain more quickly, which may enable musical children to solves problems more quickly and effectively in a range of different settings.
The list above is by no means exhaustive, and playing music will affect a child’s brain development in a host of other ways not described above.