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Music can have a powerful influence on a child's development from the very youngest age. The journey to a lifetime of musical enjoyment and expression is an important one, with incredible benefits. In addition to stimulating creativity and adding social enjoyment, active music making has been shown to contribute to making kids brighter, in ways we're just beginning to understand.

Later in life, music continues to provide hidden benefits. It even seems to help curb depression and loneliness in older people. A lifetime of music begins in childhood, and your child will never be more ready to learn than in these early years.

What parents should know:

  • Kids are ready to begin making music even earlier than you may think. Before then, there are benefits to just listening. Hearing music stimulates the mind, improves the mood and brings people together.
  • A study at the University of California at Irvine demonstrated that young kids who participated in music instruction showed dramatic enhancements in abstract reasoning skills. In fact, researchers have found neural firing patterns that suggest that music may hold the key to higher brain function.
  • Research at McGill University in Montreal, Canada showed that grade-school kids who took music lessons scored higher on tests of general and spatial cognitive development, the abilities that form the basis for performance in math and engineering. The latest research shows that the actual playing of an instrument is what builds these cognitive powers. Six-year-olds who received music or voice lessons for one year tested an average 3 point boost in I.Q. scores as recently reported in ( [Link to LA Times article], could not find)
  • Kids who make music have been shown to get along better with classmates and have fewer discipline problems. More of them get into their preferred colleges, too.
  • Playing a musical instrument strengthens eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills, and kids who study an instrument learn a lot about discipline, dedication and the rewards of hard work.
  • Just listening to music can fill a home with joy and add an extra dimension to kids' lives. People who make their own music enjoy these benefits many times over.

What parents can do:

  • Make music a part of your home.
  • Expose your children to different types of music. Go to musical events, listen to the radio, enjoy musical performances on television, play CDs and DVDs-- there are lots of ways to explore the world of music. Remember the many classic musicals, ie: Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Oliver, Wizard of Oz, just to mention a few.
  • Encourage and support your children when they become interested in playing an instrument, and help them to practice.