Accelerate Intellectual Growth with Music: Part 1 of 2

How Learning to play the Acoustic Guitar Can Affect Your Child’s Learning Development.
There are many factors that contribute to raising a child that affect his or her development into a well-rounded, effective adult. Of course, if the child is raised in a stable, loving home environment where they are nurtured and cared for, they are already ahead of many of their peers. Yet we often see that children from similar family backgrounds do not learn or develop in the same way or at the same rate. Family background alone does not guarantee intelligence, development, or educational success.

Certain students also find themselves struggling in the public school system as well. Public schools tend to teach language arts and logical/analytical mathematical skills. Many children, however, have various different learning styles – or “multiple intelligences,” as these styles are also called. Many students struggle with rigid, historical teaching styles because their specific wiring happens to flourish in different learning modalities. While a majority of students may be capable of learning in the public school environment, it is still important to discover each child’s learning style to help the individual child reach his or her potential for learning.

Beyond the 3 R’s
According to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, there are 7 Multiple Intelligences (learning styles) that affect the way people learn. Gardner states that intelligence cannot be gauged by measuring just one inherited intelligence style, but insists it must be measured by multiple cognitive developments and learning varieties. These are as follows:

Linguistic (oral and written language)

Logical-mathematical (the ability to logically analyze problems)

Spatial (visual and creative thinking in abstract ways)

Bodily-kinesthetic (coordinating mental and physical activity to achieve goals)

Musical (musical ability in patterns, performance and composition)

Interpersonal (capability of working with and understanding others)

Intrapersonal (having an acute understanding of oneself that sets a standard of living)

We know that children’s brains develop most sharply from birth to age 6 or 7, but will continue to grow more slowly into adulthood. Playing a musical instrument (such as the acoustic guitar, violin, trumpet or drums) can foster progress in the developmental areas of music, body, interpersonal and intrapersonal growth in the young child. As the child grows and musical instruction becomes more advanced, these skills can also translate into growth in visual/spatial, language, mathematical and other development. This development is strengthened as the child becomes more proficient at learning, reading, and playing music. And parents get the added bonus of spending quality time with their child as they encourage the learning process.

From scientific study to real-life application
From the author’s own personal viewpoint as both educator and parent, investing in your child’s musical ability and growth is a great way to encourage development of self-esteem, life-experience, and many other educational benefits. Scientific study shows that being educated in music leads to higher intelligence in spatial and mathematical development. Musical training in patterns, rhythm and pitch can specifically affect children’s learning development in arithmetic reasoning and processing.

(See article for more information on the Mozart effect on the development and enhancement of spatial memory and Dr. Gottfried Schlaug’s studies on music students’ developing more corpus callosum growth and activity.)

Studies reveal positive effects on children who begin learning musical instruments as young as 12 months of age. Even before oral communication skills are developed, children have the capability of developing rhythm and movement associated with music. Children who learn musical instruments before the important developmental age of 7 tend to develop a healthier corpus callosum (the neural network that connects both left and right halves of the brain). This tells us that learning musical instruments enhance both the development of the logical-mathematical (ST or spatial temporal) parts of the brain and the Language-Analytical (LA reasoning) area of the brain. Think of it in terms of muscle development. As we work and train our muscles, they grow and become healthier. The different parts of our brains are similar – as we use and train areas of our brains, they develop and grow. Musical training helps this process. People trained well in music tend to have a greater connectivity between brain hemispheres. end of part 1

Look for part 2 in the July KidsGoals Newsletter

About the author: Aaron Schulman is a devoted husband, father, educator, and guitar player. He also enjoys his work as a web designer – including his best acoustic and electric guitar reviews at Disappointed with the purchase of his first guitar many years ago, he began to study guitar construction practices to help other people make more informed decisions when purchasing their own guitars. He has authored many online lessons, articles, and reviews – including a challenging answer to what is the best acoustic guitar for beginners.

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