Should my Child Learn the Piano? Plus Other Facts about Music Education.

Brynne Conroy

We all try to do what’s best for our children. Whether we’re talking about their education or making sure we have life insurance to provide for them after we’re gone, we attempt to foster an environment of opportunities for growth and security.

One way to encourage these opportunities is with music. Learning to play an instrument has many benefits for young learners. These benefits span their physical, academic and social lives. 

No child is too young to engage in music. In fact, a popular instrument to teach young children is piano. Today, we’ll talk about why.

Why Music Education is so Important

Music education has been scientifically proven to benefit young minds. It can actually help us at all stages of life, but when children receive this education as their brain is developing, the results can be particularly pronounced. 

The Royal Conservatory has compiled a resource with the current science on music education. Here are three of the big takeaways.

Music education is scientifically proven to boost brain development.

The cited Royal Conservatory studies outline numerous physical benefits in the brains of those with a musical background. They include:

  • Larger temporal cortex.
  • Larger frontal cortex.
  • Increased grey matter.
  • Stronger neural connections.
  • Better motor coordination.
  • Improved memory over the course of one's life.

Music education teaches vital soft skills to children.

Your child is likely to gain more than physical benefits alone from their musical experiences. Music education has also been shown to improve vital soft skills your children will need throughout their life, like:

  • Empathy.
  • Attention span.
  • Emotional resilience.
  • Self confidence.
  • Communication skills.

Studying music is correlated to better academic performance.

As if you didn’t already have enough reasons to have your child learn an instrument, music study is also very highly correlated with academic performance. You might immediately guess that’s the case with math as students are studying quarter and eighth notes, but music study notably improves language skills, too. It gives your child’s entire brain a workout, allowing them to excel a little more in most areas of study.

Why the piano is the best gateway instrument.

Piano is often used as a gateway instrument. If you have a keyboard or piano, you can learn in your own home rather than waiting for band or orchestra later in elementary school. Here are some of the reasons so many parents choose piano as the place to start. 

Getting started on piano is easy.

The piano is an interesting instrument. Unlike many other musical instruments, you shouldn't need to tune a piano every time you play. That means even young children can be immediately rewarded for pressing the key, and they don’t have to go through the frustration of the tuning process.

When your child wants to produce a note on the piano, they won’t have to purse their lips just so. They won’t go sharp if they don’t have their fingers in just the right position. All they have to do is put their finger on the key. 

That’s not to say learning piano is easy. But the barrier to entry is lower for young children, who developmentally have shorter attention spans. That means more immediate rewards, and when you’re talking about young kids, that can be the difference between them quitting or sticking with it.

Don’t resist your child’s passion.

That being said, if your young child shows a passionate interest in learning an instrument other than the piano, encourage them! The benefits of music education are not exclusive to the piano. Your child can reap the same benefits regardless of the instrument they play.

The piano may be a wonderful gateway instrument, but if your child’s passion for another instrument is strong enough, you might just be able to help them through tuning sessions.