Music Study Key to Children's Success

Article excerpt

Byline: CHALK TALK By Tom Hemphill For The Register-Guard

As a father, I want to ensure that my two young children receive a well-rounded education. Unfortunately, because of recent budget constraints, public schools are cutting back or abandoning an increasing number of programs, and those cutbacks frequently involve the study of music.

Statistics indicate that young children who receive music lessons get significantly better grades than those who don't, and that the study of music improves reading skills, mathematical aptitude and self-esteem in children of all ages.

Virtually all reputable research draws the same conclusion: Children who grow up studying music do better in school than children who grow up without music instruction.

It's a short step from that conclusion to this one: The absence of music education is detrimental to children.

"Most children in the top 10th percentile, scholastically, study music, and that's not coincidental," said David Lawson, owner of Lawson's Keyboard Center in Eugene. "In my experience, studying music enhances the 3 C's - concentration, coordination and confidence."

A 2002 University of California, Irvine, study showed that after eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers displayed a 46 percent boost in their spatial reasoning IQ. In 1990, the National Commission on Music Education issued a report detailing the value of music in the education of youngsters. The report emphasized that the child who is taught how to make music also is learning something significant about his or her innate creativity, and that as a child begins to see the connection between hours of practice and the quality of a performance, self-discipline is reinforced.

"It is only a short jump from that realization to making the connection between self-discipline and performance in life," the report says.

Last year, after taking a close look at the research ourselves, my brother Paul and I, both of us musicians and music teachers, opened The Lesson Factory.

At The Lesson Factory we teach guitar, bass, drums, piano, electric keyboards, saxophone and singing to youngsters, teens and adults. …