Should Students Play Musical Instruments?

          In elementary and middle school, students exposed to music learn to read musical notes and experiment with different types of instruments. However, once students enter high school, many do not continue their musical studies because it is not required in the Leonia school district. Scientific research suggests that music defines intellectual capability and students who choose to abandon their musical studies are depriving themselves of numerous advantages. Should students reconsider their choice to leave the musical field?  School advisors suggest that students who do not want a career in music should avoid taking music classes because it takes time away from academics. However, many fail to notice that playing a musical instrument is favorable to success in school.

            A scientific study concluded that playing a musical instrument can increase memory. In the study, 22 preschool students received keyboard lessons and 15 did not. The results showed that the preschoolers who participated in weekly keyboard lessons improved their special-temporal skills by 34 percent compared to their peers, who did not receive keyboard lessons. Spatial-temporal skills are the ability to visualize patterns and mentally manipulate them in a timed order. There was a long-lasting effect of brain stimulation in preschoolers who experienced an increase in their special-temporal skills. The Telegraph, an online magazine, wrote, “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.” Continuing research provides evidence that musicians stimulate advanced thought processes in the brain compared to non-musicians. By learning to play an instrument, the areas in the brain that control motor skills, hearing, audio information storage, and memory become more active. Playing an instrument will benefit students in other classes because of their increased cognitive skills.

            Learning to play an instrument is time consuming and requires dedication. Students exposed to music gain time management and organizational skills. Gloria Kim, a freshman atLeoniaHigh School, explains, “I take band as an elective and play the flute. I’ve learned that when I’m studying any subject, the quality of studying is more important than how much I study.” Musicians, like Gloria Kim, know that time management is essential to their progress in a musical piece. They quickly learn how to organize practice time and plan different pieces to work on, thus making efficient use of their time.

            Learning to play a musical instrument sharpens concentration because it requires awareness of pitch, rhythm, tempo, note duration, and quality of sound. Musicians who play in a group must learn to listen to themselves and to other sections in order to achieve harmony. When students gain a sense of focus from playing an instrument, they will likely succeed in other school-related subjects.

            Music fosters self expression and creates a sense of achievement. Musicians take their abilities outside of the band room by writing their own compositions or playing their favorite song. Musicians are able to express themselves through music, like artists who are able to express themselves through art. Gloria Kim states, “Everyone is different and they each have their own style of music. I was able to find my style in the flute and I enjoy expressing myself with it.” Many students do not have an outlet to relive their stress or express their emotions. Music is a healthy outlet that allows students to feel accomplished. Sue Kim, a sophomore atLeoniaHigh Schooland instrumentalist, explains, “Music creates a sense of achievement because spending a lot of time learning to play something difficult and succeeding in it gives a sense of liberation.” Many students strive for the best; however, they lack hobbies and often cannot find a healthy outlet. Students who study music will be able to develop a form of self-expression and create personal goals.

            Playing a musical instrument provides significant benefits, such as an increase in cognitive skills and advanced thought processes. Students who are looking for a hobby or an outlet should consider playing a musical instrument. Playing music teaches students dedication and passion, providing them with lasting experiences.