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Why Your Kids Should Take Music Lessons

Why Your Kids Should Take Music Lessons

Musical training can increase learning abilities, among other benefits, in children.

A new study from MIT and researchers working in Beijing found musical training—specifically piano—improves language learning skills for children and is possibly more beneficial than offering children extra reading lessons.

Looking at three test groups of 74 kids, four to five years old, researchers found giving them piano lessons at the age when they’re developing their vocabulary “uniquely enhanced cortical responses to pitch changes in music and speech . . . [T]he piano group demonstrated unique advantages over the reading and control groups in consonant-based word discrimination.” In short, musical training helped the preschoolers with speech-sound processing.

This follows a report this year in Neuron on an NIH/Kennedy Center workshop on Music and the Brain that says musical training in children can foster the development of a variety of nonmusical skills, relieve stress, help treat depression and may have cognitive-sharpening abilities.

If your child doesn’t care for piano lessons, see what he or she thinks about trying out other instruments, like the trombone. Marching bands need them!

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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