Benefits of Music Education

TOP 4 Benefits of Studying music

Do you know what after-school activity benefits kids and teens the most? Studying music, of course!

Everyone knows making music is fun and enjoyable, but music education also provides a myriad of benefits to your brain, physical and mental health, and general well-being. In fact, the impact of learning to sing or play an instrument on a child or teen’s development is more than twice that of sports, theater, or dance 

So, whether your child is picking up a guitar for the first time or spending years honing their flute skills, you can rest assured it will be more than just music to your ears, it’s an investment in their future. 

↓ See below for the top 4 benefits of studying music.


The process of learning and playing an instrument increases brain power and functionality, resulting in a boosted IQ and improved concentration. Music accelerates brain development for babies and kids, enhancing fine and gross motor skills, executive function, and sensory development. In the longer term, music keeps your mind sharp, reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

→ Read more about how music makes you smarter

“Learning music, not coding, makes kids smarter. Neuroscience shows that learning a musical instrument increases brain power and functionality, in the short and long term.”

– Study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2. Music Improves Success in School & in Life

Children and teens who study music perform better in school: They get higher grades, have improved literacy, and are 24% more likely to graduate. In fact, students highly engaged in music are, on average, academically over 1 year ahead of their peers! Positive attributes learned through musicmaking—such as confidence, independence, perseverance, leadership, and personal responsibilityprepare you for life-long success.

Music students also develop enhanced spatial-temporal skills, priming them for STEM careers requiring advanced problem-solving skills. On average, 66% of music majors who apply to medical school are accepted (the highest of any undergraduate group)! And at Merit, 35% of Conservatory graduates go on to careers in the STEM field.

3. Music Nurtures Your Mind & Body

Does listening to music make you happy? Imagine how much creating it can impact your mind! Studying music nurtures creativity, builds empathy, and helps people better express their emotions and manage anxiety.

Making music is also good for your body. You might not realize it, but when playing an instrument you’re often using your arm, core, and back muscles. In addition, the deep breathing that voice, wind, and brass instruments require builds stronger lungs and, as a natural stress reliever, music is good for our blood pressure and heart rate. 

“Music gives you a better understanding of yourself. Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”

– Dr. Eric Rasmussen, The Johns Hopkins University

4. Music Builds Community & Broadens Worldviews

Making music brings us together. When making music with others, such as in a group class, chamber group, or ensemble, you’re introduced to new experiences and points of view. And at a community music school like Merit that engages students from all backgrounds and corners of Chicagoland, music connects different cultures and promotes equity, inclusion, and belonging 

In addition, research shows that music students are more active in their school community and exhibit enhanced relationship-building and teamwork skills.


Studying music has some immediate benefits—students can experience cognitive benefits in as early as 20 days! However, music’s benefits are compounded and deepened with the long-term study of music (i.e. the longer, the better). Studies say that 2-3 years of instrument study is when academic benefits start to significantly increase. 

In other words, even if you’re not sure your child will enjoy piano lessons or stick with voice classes for years, it’s worth giving it a try. Even a short stint in the world of music will have life-long benefits.  

Just make sure to sign your child up somewhere that has options for each stage of a child’s musical journey in case they find a passion for it and want to continue making music throughout pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school…someplace like Merit School of Music, perhaps. 😉

Music classes help young children learn and grow by: 

  • Accelerating brain development
  • Kickstarting social development
  • Boosting emotional awareness and regulation
  • Building fine and gross motor skills
  • Supporting sensory and language development
  • Enhancing hand-eye coordination
  • Teaching patience and perseverance
  • Bonding with their parent or caregiver 

Keep reading about how music classes support your little one’s development: 

The impact of music on children with physical, intellectual, or learning disabilities is astounding. Oftentimes, the benefits of music education are actually amplified in children with disabilities. Here are just a few examples. 

Deaf or hard of hearing children 

Music education is especially beneficial for deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) children. Music stimulates the areas of the brain, improving language development and literacy, building confidence in themselves and their voices, reinforcing inhibitory control and muscle memory, and much more. 

Learn more by exploring these resources from Merit’s partnership with the Foundation for Hearing & Speech Resources (FHSR), called Music to My Ears: 

Children with autism 

Music benefits children with autism by stimulating social awareness, emotional regulation, gross motor skills, communication skills, and more.   

Children with learning differences 

By strengthening the brain, improving concentration, and boosting performance in subjects such as math, English, and science, music education has tremendous value in helping kids and teens with learning differences flourish in school. 

You’re never too old to benefit from making music! Whether you’re in your 20s or in your 80s, many of the benefits of music education still apply to you. Making music allows you to express yourself, build confidence, relieve stress and anxiety, and move your body. In addition, it helps keep your mind sharp, protecting against age-related decline. 

Read more about the benefits of music for adults: 

Start making music today!

Merit School of Music is renowned for providing equal access to high-quality music education.

Get to know Merit and browse music programming for all ages, instruments, and experience levels.