It's the goal of every parent to make sure our kid(s) are happy, healthy, and well-rounded; and that they grow up to be productive , successful, and caring people.
We try to do that through what we teach them at home as well as through school, community groups, and special extra curricular activities that teach skills to our kids as well as providing them with some fun. Activities that involve both intellectual and emotional stimulation are best because they teach practical skills as well as organizational skills for more abstract elements such as emotional intelligence.
How do we really know if the activities we're choosing for our kids to take part in are really helping them grow into the physically and emotionally successful adults we want and hope for them to be? Is there any scientific evidence that answers this question?
One of the most recent and largest studies ever conducted has some surprising and promising conclusions!
The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry published the results of study done by the National Institute of Health. This particular study was on normal brain development in children and adolescents using Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or what we know as an MRI.
The purpose of the study was to see if there was any correlation between music lessons and the cortical thickness in these children and teenagers.
What does "cortical size" have to do with how healthy our kids are?
First, let's look at the Cerebral Cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for processing information, language, (understanding and communicating), problem solving, complex thinking, emotional responses and processing, and much more.
The grey area within the Cerebral Cortex can be measured with Magnetic Resonance Imaging; which then gives us what is called the Cortical size, or thickness.
A thicker Cortical Size indicates more neurons are present, which result in higher usage of the benefits that our Cerebral Cortex provides us in terms of processing intellectual and emotional information. This thickness changes in childrens' brains as they grow and develop. This is important in understanding what science is now able to show us.
Now...back to the study and the neat results that were found!
232 youngsters were involved in this study, ranging in ages from 6-18. MRI's were taken of each student every 2 years, for up to 6 years total. Every child played a musical instrument.
The conclusion at the end of the study showed that "Playing a musical instrument was associated with more rapid cortical thickness maturation within areas implicated in motor planning and coordination, visuospatial ability, and emotion and impulse regulation."
In other words, the study showed that the more a child played and studied a musical instrument, it actually increased the growth and thickness of the cortical areas dealing with attention, anxiety and emotional control.
It makes sense really. We already know that we create new brain cells by doing and learning new things. More neurons create thicker cortical areas, which then equip us to better handle the emotional and physical challenges in life.
Since science has shown us that those who study music ongoing, have thicker cortical areas, it's a given, that providing your child with piano lessons is like giving them a unique kind of vitamin that will super-boost their own natural abilities to be as happy and healthy as they can be!
Even if your child isn't going to grow up to be a 'professional' musician, their lives will still be positively influenced and changed by the incredible benefits of studying the piano or another musical instrument.
Just remember: every instrument is an instrument of learning - for the player and the listener. Music lessons affect every part of our lives and the lives of our children. They will be better students, better friends, and happier about it all, just from spending a little time each day learning music. It's a gift to the world, actually.
Stay Tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb.com to learn much more and achieve your dream of playing the piano!
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