"Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance." Kids who take music lessons "have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious. These effects do not differ by socio-economic status."
Those are the findings of a 2013 study called "How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills."
That research and the work of others have led to the following conclusions.
1) Studying music strengthens reading and verbal skills.
2) It improves both long and short-term memory.
3) Performing music opens up your creativity.
4) It helps you learn languages more quickly.
5) Playing music can help you become a better listener.
6) Practicing an instrument improves finger dexterity and accuracy.
7) It improves mathematical and spatial-temporal reasoning.
8) Learning to play an instrument can boost the musician's I.Q.
9) Developing musical skills enhances self-confidence and self-esteem.
Learn more about each of those benefits and others in the article "Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You, According to Science."
(Here's the list of music classes offered at Adrian Public Schools.)
The students and teachers of two secondary schools in London truly understand the value of music education.
Since 2014, every incoming student at the Frederick Bremer School in East London has received either a flute, violin or viola and at least three years of lessons. As a result, “the school is unrecognizable from where it was in 2014,” said teacher Jenny Smith. “We are celebrating the best results the school has ever had.”
Smith said the “music is thriving and it is infectious,” adding that it's not merely an elective class, but “absolutely at the heart of the school.”
Composer Andrew Lloyd Weber is a patron of the program: Music, he said, “helps on every level, from behavior to academic achievement and self-esteem. Music is an empowering force for all kids.”
The program has been so successful that supporters are hoping to introduce it to every school in England.
Truda White is a now-retired teacher who founded the Music in Secondary Schools Trust and used it to turn around her school in Islington. With funding from a charity, she introduced classical music lessons to her students. Soon after, the school’s rating from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills was raised to “outstanding.”
White told The Times newspaper that the program helps “children learn to cooperate [and] concentrate. Music is transformative. Playing in an orchestra teaches teamwork, resilience and interdependence. I wanted them to learn that.”