This weekend, when I interrupted my son’s Sponge Bob marathon to remind him to practice the piano, he groaned. “Why do I have to keep practicing?” he asked, letting me know that he much preferred spending his free time watching TV or perhaps engaging in XBox combat.
“Because you have to,” I explained. We have this conversation a lot, and it’s devolved from “because there are many benefits to music training that I will now enumerate for you in alphabetical order” to “because I said so, now let’s hear that Für Elise that I’ve grown so fond of!”
But I sort of have been wondering. There is no doubt in my mind that practicing the piano is more beneficial than video games, but so is, I would guess, scrubbing the toilet. And yet I don’t insist that my children do it. So, given the resistance that so many kids put up with music practice, the question becomes: are there real benefits to music training? Fortunately, the science seems to be on the side of yes!
Because the New York Times reported on a study that came out this summer that proves, yes, there are benefits to musical training for young children and that those benefits extend long into adulthood. The study shows that musical education can help the brain process various components of sound such as pitch and timing and timbre. So what, you think. Why should you care about these things?
Because, according to the article, discerning those sound subtleties is important not only in terms of learning language but could be a great help later on in life when the person is facing age-related hearing loss.
What’s especially fascinating to me is this observation:
researchers found that as musicians age, they experience the same decline in peripheral hearing, the functioning of the nerves in their ears, as nonmusicians. But older musicians preserve the brain functions, the central auditory processing skills that can help you understand speech against the background of a noisy environment
The fact that musical training improves brain function is significant.
So the next time my kid asks me why he has to practice the piano I will tell him. To preserve your brain function, son. That ought to get him practicing!
Photo source: Wiki
For more of Marinka, visit her personal blog Motherhood in NYC and The Mouthy Housewives, where she doles out advice as though it were candy. Mmm … candy. Also, follow her on Twitter, where she never refers to herself in the third person, but does have a potty mouth. Sorry!
More on Kid Scoop: