We Can't Afford NOT to Put Our Kids in Music Lessons!

Many friends ask my husband and I (both musicians), why we have our kids take music lessons at such a young age (our son is almost 3, and our daughter is almost 5).

We don't need our kids to be professional musicians when they grow up.  We'd support our kids in any honorable career path.

But, we see benefits of music beyond creating a career path.  Here are the top 5 reasons our children take music lessons (and why yours should, too!):

5. Music is fun!  Every day, my kids have to clean their rooms, get ready, and do the seemingly mundane routines of life.  Why not "whistle while you work" (our family sings instead of whistles...our kids haven't quite mastered whistling yet!)?  So, we spend time teaching our kids about music, in large part because it makes otherwise mundane things more fun!  Also, when we are bored, we pull out our instruments, and play them!  It's a great alternative to always plopping the kids in front of the TV.  Family bonding, cure for boredom, makes us feel good - music is FUN!

4.  Music helps my kids understand other people, history, and unfamiliar things.  The past couple years, I taught music at Antimony Elementary School in Antimony, Utah.  One morning, while prepping a lesson for February's Black History month, my daughter caught me singing, clapping and moving around to a version of, "Follow the Drinking Gourd".  What started as a, "What are you DOING, Mom?" turned into a discussion about slavery and the Underground Railroad - which might all be pretty over-the-head of a 4-year old, except that she really liked the song, so it sunk in a little better, and gave her a reason to want to listen to my "history lesson."  A few weeks after that, she asked if we chose to be foster parents to help kids like the people involved in the underground railroad helped the blacks.  Music was the means by which my daughter could learn all of that - WOW! Another reason we keep our kids in music lessons.

3.  Music gives our kids a way to cope.  Life is stressful.  Whether it be a bully, or you lose your job and don't know how to feed your family, stress is something that just exists in life.  People often go to the gym to work out, or play a sport, or read a book or a number of other things to "escape" that stress.  While those are all worthwhile things, I want to give my kids yet another tool in their tool belt.  One more place they can go instead of turning to drugs, alcohol and porn to "escape."

Although I don't think music is always going to be the difference between raising a drug addict or not, studies do show that kids who take music lessons as a kid will have a much lower risk of getting into trouble.  Good enough for me.

Music also is such a healing influence that our kids need.  Don't believe me?  Check this out.

2. Music works out our kids' brains.  Think about playing the piano and singing simultaneously.  You have to look at multiple lines of music, plus a line of words, and then get your left hand, right hand, and your voice to create different sounds at the same time.  Think of all that work your brain has to do to make that happen!  That is multi-tasking at its finest  (and you all know "grown-ups" need to multitask!)!

And the #1 reason my family puts such high importance on music lessons:

1.  Music makes kids smarter.  Numerous studies have been done that prove that kids who take music lessons from a very young age experience significantly higher test scores in elementary, middle, high school, and college than their non-musical peers.  Everything from better math skills, reading skills, science skills, and more, have all been correlated to music lessons from an early age.  Studies have showed music lessons over time improve ACT/SAT scores, better chance at college attendance and graduation, higher amounts of scholarships going to college.

Maybe this one is one I'm hypersensitive about, because my husband is in grad school.  Maybe it's because we're both music teachers, and music teachers don't make a lot of money, so we're really counting on scholarships to help our kids through college.  Really, though, it's just because at the end of your life, what do you get to take to your grave?  Money?  Fame? A huge house and a sweet ride?  Nope.  Just the stuff you experienced and learned.  And if music makes my children more capable of learning, or gives them rich experiences they otherwise could not have had, then I'm all in for music lessons.

Now, the question I ask you: Why would you NOT want your kids in music lessons?