Want to Think Better?  Learn an Instrument.

I attended the band and orchestra concert at LMMS last week.  I was very impressed with how well all the kids did, many of whom have only been learning their instrument for a year or two.  The value of a music education came through not only in their performance but also in the smiles and proud faces of the many parents who filled the auditorium.

I’m glad there is firm support on the current East Penn School Board for a robust music education program.  I was reminded of how important this support can be over Thanksgiving, when my family traveled to a district that has eliminated all arts and music as part of short-sighted attempts to cut the budget.  Alas, music classes are still considered an optional part of the curriculum even in our own district after the fifth grade.  Yet our knowledge of the effect of music on human brain development has advanced enormously since I went to school.

The video below provides an overview of some of that knowledge.  It explains WHY learning an instrument improves the brain and HOW these improvements happen in the brain.  The bottom line is that learning an instrument is not only a good in itself, it makes students better learners and better thinkers in all aspects of their lives.  Take a look:

It makes me wish I had stuck with the piano when I was a kid.  And that I would get serious about learning the guitar now!  But more importantly, it serves as a reminder of the crucial role of music in our schools.

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