Making music makes kids smarter


by Ginger Jacobson

There are mountains of educational research that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that making music makes you smarter in a multitude of educational and life skills. Here are just a few of the many benefits that educators, researchers and the scientific community associate with learning to make music.

Developing the skills necessary to play a musical instrument or sing fosters logical thinking. Competencies are presented in a step-by-step process and added in a logical progression. This creates layers of learning, which foster and improve multi-tasking skills.

In addition, problem-solving skills develop as a major benefit. This is key later in life to increased opportunities in post-secondary education and the workplace.

Creativity is also sparked. Taking a musical idea from first reading to performance, weaving the student’s own skills and protocols with their imagination, is uniquely valuable, not only from a musical perspective but in other areas.

Engineers, doctors, computer programmers and many other professionals achieve high levels of success by “thinking outside the box,” a skill developed during music lessons.

Colleges, universities and employers routinely give extra consideration to applicants with musical experience, as they have proven levels of commitment and attention to detail in comparison with non-musical applicants. In the short term, music students attain higher marks in all subjects during their elementary school years.

Socially, music students fit better into the framework of team and group activities. Whether the student is a solo performer or a member of an ensemble, awareness is heightened as to how they fit into the overall performance.

As adults, this skill is a valuable asset, not only to potential employers, but to the community as a whole. Relating to others and learning to play together doesn’t just refer to playing instruments!

The desire and eagerness to learn music for many children is an intensely personal and satisfying one. Some grow into the music scene gradually. For others, it is a passion quickly developed.

The method by which your child learns music, whether in private lessons at school or in an extracurricular setting is immaterial. What is important is that your child needs the capacity for self-expression, skill development and creativity. Music provides all of this.

Making music is an open door through which your child can travel freely with a comfort level that says, “I can do this and it feels great!”

The documentation and studies referred to in this article can be referenced at

Ginger Jacobson is a music teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.


Photo: © Hongqi Zhang