So Your Child Wants to Quit Piano?

According to E. Glenn Schellenberg, organized music lessons have a real and lasting positive effect on children’s IQ and performance, and the longer the lessons continue, the greater the benefit.

Each month of lessons resulted in an average IQ increase of 1/6 of a point, and 6 years of lessons showed an average increase of 7.5 IQ points. Even college students who had music lessons had a significant advantage over their peers.

Monitor on Psychology, Volume 37, No. 6 June 2006

Lest you think that Dr. Schellenberg’s results were a fluke, these researchers also found that continuing music lessons have lasting benefits on verbal memory, and the longer the lessons continue, the better the result.

“Music Training Improves Verbal but Not Visual Memory: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Explorations in Children,”Yim-Chi Ho, M.Phil.; Mei-Chun Cheung, Ph.D.; and Agnes S. Chan, Ph.D.; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Neuropsychology, Vol. 17, No. 3.

Most parents now believe that children have normal musical abilities that should be developed. For these parents, music is an essential part of their children’s education and “provides important opportunities for cognitive, aesthetic, social-emotional and neurological development far beyond the relatively narrow range of musical performance abilities previously associated with musical talent.” Directions for Innovation in Music Education [pdf file]

So, before you let your child quit those music lessons, think about this. Your child probably would prefer to eat M&Ms for dinner rather than broccoli. What is it you serve for dinner, and why? And before you give in and let them quit music lessons in favor of video games, if you wouldn’t let your child choose what to serve for dinner, why would you do it for your child’s activities?

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