More than 2000 years ago, Plato said:
"Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, and children should be taught music before anything else."
Many studies show that listening to and playing music has profound effects on a child's learning. It also gives them an outlet to express their emotion and boosts their self-confidence and independence, not to mention that it is a great way to develop discipline.
Although there are a lot of dubious claims that are more in the realms of the esoteric and have not been since replicated--- for example, the so-called "Mozart effect"--- there are plenty of well documented scientific studies that give evidence of the beneficial effects that music and the piano has on children. Here are a couple of those studies:
- This study by Toronto professor E. Glenn Schellenberg showed that keyboard instruments in particular have a significant impact on a child's IQ and academic achievement. He offered free piano, singing and drama lessons to groups of six year olds and monitored their progress as they started elementary school. The students receiving music lessons had a boost in their IQ and the most significant results were apparent in the children taking piano lessons.
- Dr. Frances Rauscher has written many research papers on the way the brain works when learning music and the effects it has on the different types of reasoning and academic performance, ranging from pre-schoolers to college students. At the bottom of the page, most of her research papers are available in .pdf format.
A good resource online for learning about research done on music and how it affects people and learning is the NAMM foundation, at music-research.org.
So, today's daily piano tip is:
Get a piano for your children.