Merit School of Music

Benefits of Music Education

Research proves that music classes & lessons provide a myriad of benefits for your brain, physical and mental health, and general well-being.

Top Four 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, 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!

A young child smiles while playing the guitar. A teenager plays the keyboard.
A young child and adult put together a puzzle together while sitting at a table. A lightbulb appears over the child's head.

1. Music Strengthens Your Brain

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.

According to a study from MIT, 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.

2. Music Improves Success in School & 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 one year ahead of their peers!

Positive attributes learned through music–making, such as confidence, independence, perseverance, leadership, and personal responsibility, prepare 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!

Three people work together around a table. One person is standing anreading from a book to the others.
Cartoon of two children jumping for joy

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 have 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.

At a community music school like Merit, which 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.

Three friends look at a picture of the world while holding each other.

Frequently Asked Questions​

How long will it take for studying music to benefit my child?

Studying music has immediate benefits, with some students experiencing cognitive benefits within 20 days.

However, music’s benefits are deepened with the long-term study of music. 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. Merit offers programming for every step of a child’s musical journey, from pre-K to pre-collegiate, ensuring a great start and a progressive pathway to mastery.

How do babies and toddlers benefit from early childhood music classes?

Music classes help even very 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 

Learn more about the benefits of music classes for babies and toddlers.

Can music benefit my child with disabilities?

The impact of music on children with physical, intellectual, or learning disabilities is astounding. Oftentimes, the benefits of music education are 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.

What about adults? Am I too old to benefit from music?

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!

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