Benefits of music education

It is no secret that music education positively contributes to a child's overall education. It builds self-esteem and the ability to problem-solve, creates a community for students with diverse backgrounds and interests, contributes to brain development, and enhances many learning skills. Plus, it brings so much beauty and joy into our communities in ways that can be enjoyed together.

The COVID-19 pandemic took the wind out of the sails of many performing arts classes, particularly in middle and high schools. Programs are rebuilding but it will take time and encouragement to restore participation to pre-pandemic levels. Face it, when you take performing out of performing arts, it is hard to hold students’ interest in the programs!

The impact of music on brain development has been widely researched. Studies indicate that students in school music education programs are more successful than their counterparts who are not. Music education promotes a wide range of skills by engaging both the creative and analytical parts of the brain. Below are examples of how musical training improves students’ learning and growth, and why music education is an important part of development.

“When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout.” This is illustrated in a TED Talk by educator Anita Collins, explaining the “fireworks” that go off in musicians’ brains when they play.


An article by Geoffrey James of, based upon MIT and Journal of Neuroscience studies, also supports these claims. It discusses the long-term positive effects on the brain when a child learns to play music versus learning computer coding.


Many studies support music education’s role in academic success, including how it enhances math and language skills and contributes to higher graduation rates. In an article for Learning Liftoff, author Lauren Martin offers ten ways in which music education benefits learning. A Northwestern University study, in collaboration with Harmony Project, further demonstrates how community music programs enhance brain function and student success rates.  Research also supports claims that a musical background is beneficial for students wanting to attend medical school by helping them build a strong work ethic and good teamwork. Development of these skills is advantageous for students pursuing pre-medical education, as discussed in a 2021 US News article, How a Music Background Can Help Pre-med Students.

A Capstone Music article entitled How Music Can Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem highlights how music education builds students’ confidence by improving language development, enhancing social skills, and encouraging competition. Additionally, the concept of a “growth mindset” is being widely promoted in education. Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University states that “people with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure.” Like building any muscle, exercising the brain in this manner builds strength and resilience, as discussed in an article from Khan Academy. Musical training supports a growth mindset and applauds students’ process of learning, not innate talent, building their overall capacity to learn and adapt in other realms.

Collins, A. (n.d.). How Playing an Instrument Benefits your Brain. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

James, G. (2021, January 27). Want Smarter Kids? Teach Music not Coding According to MIT. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

Martin, L. (2014, March 10). Ten Benefits of Music Education for Students. Learning Liftoff. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

Anyaso, H. H. (2014, December 2). Community Music Programs Enhance Brain Function in At-Risk Children. Northwestern News. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

Lofti, A. M.D. (2021, November 2). How a Music Background Can Help Premed Students. US News. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

Capstone Music (n.d.). How Music Can Boost Children’s Self Esteem. Capstone Music. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from

Kahn, S. (n.d.). The learning myth: Why I’ll never tell my son he’s smart. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from