The Importance of Music Training in Children
When Albert Einstein was 5 years old, his mother pushed him to start learning the violin. At this young age, playing the instrument didn’t appeal to him at all. But by the time he turned 13 he was introduced to Mozart, and the violin became a staple of his being.
Today, Albert Einstein is best known for his breakthroughs in scientific theories, such as the Theory of Relativity. Not many people knew that he was also a violin aficionado, preferring to play more as a hobby for friends and the occasional chamber ensemble. Researchers today believe that Einstein’s background in music contributed to higher cognitive function, which may have resulted in his heightened genius.
Studies are being conducted almost every year to determine the scale of how music can impact the cognitive development of young children. A new study that began in 2012 at the University of Southern California (USC) wanted to see what impact only two years of music training could have, instead of a lifetime of study as Einstein did. They studied three groups of children: one that played music through the Orchestra Los Angeles program, one that played soccer, and one that did no activities. Once a year, the researchers would conduct a series of cognitive tests over a the course of a few days with each child in the study groups. At first there were no significant changes between the children, but later on it was revealed that the group in the music program had heightened “auditory pathways”, able to process sound at a much faster rate.
Assal Habibi, the Senior Research Associate at USC, wrote an article for The Conversation about the study. She claimed, “Our findings suggest that music training during childhood, even for a period as brief as two years, can accelerate brain development and sound processing. We believe that this may benefit language acquisition in children given that developing language and reading skills engage similar brain areas. This can particularly benefit at-risk children in low socioeconomic status neighborhoods who experience more difficulties with language development.”
A child doesn’t need to have a lifetime of musical training in order to benefit from the art itself. It’s a shame that schools these days are struggling to keep their music and arts programs afloat, as studies such as these are showing more evidence of the positive influences of music on cognitive development. For organizations such as Harbor Music Academy here in San Diego, bringing the joys and benefits of music to children alike can potentially improve a child’s experience at school and learning at home.
The Harbor Music Academy is hosting a benefit concert this weekend, Saturday, August 13th from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM. Show your support of the arts in San Diego by purchasing your ticket at www.harbormusicacademy.com.