When parents enroll their child in Kindermusik® or beginning music lessons, they’re probably not thinking about their child’s college education. However, the decision to introduce music into your child’s life at an early age can set them up for future academic success.
Music lessons for kids “till the soil” of their minds
Children who grow up with hands-on musical experience have an advantage over their non-musical peers.
Students who play instruments get better grades in English, science and math according to a recent study in the Journal of Educational Psychology.
Peter Gouzouasis, professor of music education at the University of British Columbia has spent the past two decades studying the effects of music education on academic achievement.
In his findings, Gouzouasis reports that devoted high school music students performed one year ahead of their peers in English, science and math. In addition, he found a predictive relationship between music education and math skills. Students who received strong music grades also received strong math grades. However, the reverse did not hold true, leading him to believe that there is something inherently beneficial and enriching for math students who study music.
So what accounts for the strong relationship between music education and academic achievement?
When we engage with music, both the right and left sides of our brains are activated simultaneously. When the brain is stimulated in this way, it plows up the mind and makes it fertile ground for learning.
At the same time, music students refine their hand-eye coordination and listening and problem-solving skills while growing their creativity. Music students also learn that no good thing comes easy and develop a habit of persistence and fortitude that excelling in band, orchestra or choir demands. These skills are highly transferable to academics…and to life.
Music opens the doors to college admissions
The process of applying to colleges and universities begins with standardized testing. Most higher-level education requires a minimum score on at least one standardized test to prove competency and readiness. Colleges and universities also factor in high school GPA and your student’s transcript with a detailed picture of the courses they completed and all of their extracurricular involvement.
Studying music can help boost your child’s grades and high school GPA and it can also help them develop the skills they need to study for and score well on these tests.
Their GPA and standardized test scores can open up the door for your child to apply to their top college or university choice.
But the benefits don’t end there.
When admissions counselors look through hundreds if not thousands of applications and transcripts, how do they decide which students to offer admission to? There isn’t room for every applicant at any school.
Students who pursue music as an extracurricular high school activity stand head and shoulders above their peers. Their discipline and motivation shine.
Hint: Encourage your child to submit a letter of recommendation from their high school music teacher or private music instructor with their college applications!
Plus, if the school they’re applying to has an orchestra, that school needs violin, viola, cello and bass players. If the school has a band or choir, they need gifted musicians to fill these roles. As a music student, your child has the opportunity to apply for a music scholarship when they submit their college application. When counselors know that your child will commit to furthering their collegiate music program, their application holds even more appeal.
Ultimately, a music scholarship provides a break on college tuition.