I originally wanted my children to play the piano. It's so useful in worship services and can be played solo. But I couldn't seem to fit the additional teaching into our schedule.
Fortunately, we found another avenue for musical expression. I firmly believe in the many benefits music can bring (such as boosts to work ethic and self confidence), so I found a local honors band. My kids could all participate at the same time (so I only had to drive them once a week), and they loved it. I shared the story of my children and music a few years ago, including the benefits I hoped music would give them.
Justin (my youngest) really got into the trombone in high school. He even started a daring trombone group that performed at high school football games! (Read more here.)
But flipping through The Wall Street Journal last week, I found another benefit to music I hadn't considered before. A recent study suggests that musicians have better auditory processing skills than non-musicians. According to the study, people who played an instrument since the age of 16 were "significantly better than non-musicians at distinguishing sound frequencies, sound gaps and speech amid noise, tasks associated with auditory processing in the brain." From age 18 to 91, musicians demonstrated better auditory skills than their peers.
It may be that those drawn to music already have a natural ability to distinguish sounds and make sense of the sounds around them. But it makes sense that the act of learning and playing an instrument also develops these skills.
Read the rest of the (brief) article from The Wall Street Journal here: To Keep Hearing Young, Play an Instrument.
You may know that you can't fit music into your life right now. But if you're looking for another reason to get your kids started, here you go! Consider looking for a quality local youth band or orchestra, browse Sonlight's music options, and give your kids the gift of music. I am certainly glad my own children got to enjoy the wonder of making music while growing up.