Memory and how to finely tune ones’ memory is a subject that seldom becomes uninteresting. Articles on memory can be found everywhere from scientific journals to self-help books and educational research. It seems that our fascination with verbal and visual retention naturally begins when we are newborns. We desire the attention of our mother and quickly learn to recognize the difference between her voice and touch versus that of someone else. We remember how to summon her and communicate our feelings even with the absence of words. When we develop into Toddlers, we remember to watch for behavioral cues and remember which events might change our current level of satisfaction to immediate discontent. As Toddlers we also remember how important it is for us express ourselves verbally and through actions. It is Toddler stage when we learn to discern (i.e. remember) which actions are “good” and which ones are “bad.” It’s when we start understanding relationships: parents vs. family member; friends vs. strangers. We start remembering directions, cue words and how to identify things by their proper names as Toddler too.
In Preschool, we observe and remember that by memorizing more complicated sequences, one day we will be able to do what our parents are doing. We are proud to share what we remember, and remember to look and listen for a specific kind of praise, which when not provided, we remember to share the accomplishment again. J From this point forward, we will in some fashion spend the greater part of our days memorizing letters, words, numbers and the relationship of living and non-living things, tangible and intangible objects. How well we adapt to memorizing these “objects,” will more clearly define who we will become as adults and which careers we will choose. This premise derives from the simple idea that what we learn early in life becomes the foundation of more complex subjects later in life.
Even though we have time to mature and gain greater comprehension between our preschool and professional years, the earlier that we more finely develop our memories, the better choices we will have in life. Each of us remembers the challenges of memorizing lists but very few of us recognize that some hobbies naturally promote memory.
Music lessons have a profound effect on memory. In fact, studies have shown that children who take music lessons have a significantly more developed verbal memory than children who do not study music. They remember more words, sounds, and inflections than unlearned musicians. Parents who enroll their children in music lessons for recreational purposes rather than professional reasons will still reap the benefits of music study. The current investment made in music lessons will “pay off” in the long run even if only studying for three years. According to many studies, students who took several years of lessons were able to refine their memory even after lessons. These results were drastically different than the results of students who only studied for a few months to a year. Although noticeable at the time of lessons, their abilities decreased as the period between the starting and stopping of lessons increased.
As a musician/parent I would be so bold to state that, “Since music lessons boost the functions of the left brain, (i.e. Logical, Objective, Rational, and Analytical Reasoning) and can make our predominately right brained children more “whole brained,” music lessons should be interpreted as an important part child rearing.” And if studying music impacts cognitive skills, it seems only logical to recognize that music lessons must also prepare the students for life in other ways too.
Self-motivation, discipline and follow-through on assignments are skills that all of us must develop if we want to be successful. Music teachers are therefore obligated to teach students how to achieve goals from one week. Knowing when to push and encourage a student to achieve high standards and when to coast at the current ability are “key.” From a self-motivation standpoint, reaching a goal is a reason to continue in particular when the student understands how to bring about the desired result on their own. Teachers can show them “how”; parents can remind them of “how,” but ultimately the student must come to the realization of “how to” over and over again on their own. At that point the process is part of their long-term memory. The discipline has been achieved and the self motivation, the desire to continue in other words, was derivative of their ability to do it on their own. As each attainable goal becomes more challenging the student will gain greater confidence. When they consider that a task that was initially difficult is now very simple… there is a reason to continue. There is a desire to see how far they can go if for no other reason than they were uncertain that they would get “this far.” Discipline and follow-through are therefore a natural part of the learning process. The right teacher for the student can and will nurture discipline and follow-through without having to exert a strict approach.
In my opinion the benefits of music instruction are immeasurable. I also find this statement personally amusing since I was the 4-year old student who hated music lessons, wanted to quit, and quickly realized I had to keep going because I couldn’t be “without the music.” [By the way, I cringe each time I have to admit this to my parents. It’s just one more thing they were right about.] But many college credits and 20 years of teaching later I feel privileged to see that the legacy I am leaving behind has manifested its self in not only accomplished students, but also genuinely happy individuals who, even after the years of grueling lessons with me, are still playing, sharing, and yes are even teaching music. J
I hope that you have found this article engaging and a reason to continue studying music. In the event you have not yet begun improving your memory and life-skills via music; our music school would be happy to get your started. We improve the memories of students’ ages 4 years old to adult. J
I hope that you have found this article engaging and a good reason to begin or continue your child’s or your own musical journey. In the event you have not yet begun improving your memory and life-skills via music; our music school would be happy to get your started. We improve the memories of students’ ages 4 years old to adult depending on the instrument. J Piano, Voice and Guitar lessons examples of the mind boosting lessons we offer and we can bring all of the supplemental materials to you with the help of our buy book stores and musical Lending Libraries.
For more information on lessons visit us online at www.pianolessonsinyourhome.com. To learn more on the advantages of music lessons on memory type “music lessons and memory” into your preferred search engine.