"Creativity is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein

You can think of your kid's lessons as "musical multivitamins," customized to give them the comprehensive benefits of learning music based on their individual development. In addition to learning to play piano for people, here are some reasons you can feel good that your child takes lessons:

Practicing - I show my students how to break down complex challenges into achievable components, and then how to use self-discipline to follow through. My ultimate goal is for them to become totally self-sufficient and independent so they no longer need me prodding them along.

Reading - Based on my extensive research in language acquisition, my method for learning to read music is designed to improve literacy. 

Theory - Music theory is like the math of music, and it develops their abilities to think critically, logically, and abstractly.

Listening - Ear-training exercises help my students develop their crucial abilities to listen attentively and focus.

Improvising - I tap into their imagination and let my students explore their creativity while thinking on their feet.

Composing/Songwriting - Students will learn to craft their own music, which demands that they use both their logical and creative minds to reach their potential

Performing - Practice performances and real performances throughout the year help to boost their confidence and show them that big rewards come from perseverance and hard work.

Benefits of Music Education

I've collected some relevant articles for you about the significant benefits that your child can gain from learning music:

Johns Hopkins University School of Education - Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom

The Benefits of Music Education - Cognitive development, persona and academic success, work force preparation for the 21st Century. 

Music Matters: How music education helps students learn, achieve, and succeed

The Benefits of Music Education - Success in society, success in school, success in life

Long Term Benefits of Music Study - Music study enhances IQ, predicts academic performances and raises SAT scores

Benefits of Music Education - Music is a science, mathematical, a foreign language, history, physical education, and art

The Importance of Music - Academic benefits, mathematics skills, reading and language skills, and practical benefits

The Importance of Music in Early Childhood

National Association for Music Education - 20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools

PBS Education - The Benefits of Music Education

Twelve Benefits of Music Education

New study investigates the cognitive and linguistic benefits of music education in public schools

Extracurriculars Are Central to Learning - Subjects such as art, music and foreign languages have long-lasting benefits

National Education Music Company - Music Education Benefits

11 Facts About Music Education

Benefits of Music Education - 5 Reasons to Play a Musical Instrument

Benefits of Arts Education - A comprehensive resource

10 ways music benefits children

National Association of Music Merchants - Comprehensive list of quotes

And here are some more ways to know you're doing something right by getting your child to take piano lessons:

  • It's been shown that “Kids with musical backgrounds consistently beat the numbers” at Ivy League schools. Click HERE to learn about how Ivy League admissions are like a piano competition. 
  • A recent German study shows how music training boosts brainpower and enhances verbal intelligence
  • “On the 2012 SAT, students who participated in music scored an average of 31 points above average in reading, 23 points above average in math, and 31 points above average in writing.” - National Association for Music Education
  • Click HERE for a long list of research about the benefits of a music education for child development. 


Here is a sampling of the robust scientific literature supporting the developmental impacts of learning music:

Andersen, Ole, Marcy Marsh and Dr. Arthur Harvey. Learn with the Classics: Using Music to Study Smart at Any Age. LIND Institute, San Francisco, California: 1999.

Apfelstadt, J. "Effects of Melodic Perception Instruction on Pitch Discrimination and Vocal Accuracy of Kindergarten Children." Journal of Research in Music Education 86 (1984):10-17.

Armstrong, T. The Foundations of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books, 1994.

Bamberger, Jeanne. The Mind Behind the Musical Ear: How Children Develop Musical Intelligence. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Berard, Guy, M.D. Hearing Equals Behavior. New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, 1993.

Bertaux, B. "Teaching Children of All Ages to Use the Singing Voice, and How to Work with Out of Tune Singers." inReadings in Music Learning Theory, edited by D.L. Walters and C.C. Taggart, 92-104. Chicago: G.I.A., 1989.

Bjorkvold, Jon-Roar. The Muse Within: Creativity and Communication, Song and Play from Childhood through Maturity. New York: HarperCollins, 1989.

Brand, M. (1986). Relationship between home musical environment and selected musical attributes of second-grade children. Journal of Research in Music Education, 34, 112- 120.

Brewer, Chris. Music and Learning: Seven Ways to Use Music in the Classroom. Tequesta, Florida: LifeSounds, 1995

Bridger, W.H. "Sensory Habituation and Discrimination in the Human Neonate." American Journal of Psychiatry, 117(1961): 991-996.

Burmeister, C. A. (1955). A study of community attitudes toward music education in the public schools of selected communities in Missouri. Journal of Research in Music Education, 3, 77-91.

Butzlaff, R. (2000). "Can Music be used to Teach Reading?" The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34, 167-178.

Bygrave, P. (1995). "Development of Receptive Vocabulary Skills Through Exposure to Music." Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education,127, 28-34.

Campbell, Don G. Introduction to the Musical Brain, 2nd edition. St. Louis, Missouri: MMB Music Inc., 1983.

Casner-Lotto, J., & Benner, M.W. (2006). Are they really ready to work? Employers perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st century U.S. workforce. New York, NY: The Conference Board, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Catterall, J. (2012) et al. "The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies." Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts. 

Catterall, J. (2002). "The Arts and the Transfer of Learning." In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the arts andStudent Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP. 

Cutietta, R. (1998). "Does Orchestra Education in Schools Make a Difference?" General Music Today, 11, 17-20.

Davidson, L. "Preschool Children's Tonal Knowledge: Antecedents of Scale," in The Young Child and Music, edited by J. Boswell, 25-40. Reston: MENC, 1985.

"The Effects of Music Education Based on Kodaly's Directives in Nursery School Children from a Psychologist's Point of View." Psychology of Music [ISME IX Research Seminar], 1982.

Fogel,H. (2007). The Importance of Music Education. Artsjournal.com/ontherecord. Gouzouasis ,P., Guhn, M., & Kishow, N., The relationship between achievement and participation in music and achievement in core grade twelve academic subjects. The University of British Columbia, Department of Curriculum Studies.

Gardner, H. Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1983.

Geringer, J.M. "The Relationship of Pitch-matching and Pitch Discrimination Abilities of Preschool and Fourth-grade Students." Journal of Research in Music Education, 31:2 (1983): 93-100.

Gilbert, J.P. "Assessment of Motoric Skill Development in Young Children: Test Construction and Evaluation Procedures."Psychology of Music, 7:2 (1979): 21-25.

Gilbert, Anne Green. Teaching the Three R's through Movement Experiences: A Handbook for Teachers. Seattle, Washington: Anne Gilbert, 1977.

G.L. Shaw, and K.N. Ky. "Music and Spatial Task Performance." Nature, 365 (1993): 611.

Gordon, E.E. Learning Sequences in Music: Skill, Content, and Patterns. Chicago: G.I.A., 1988.

Greenberg, M. "The Development and Evaluation of a Preschool Music Curriculum for Preschool and Headstart Children."Psychology of Music, 2:1 (1974): 34-38.

Guth,P. (2009). The Importance of Music Education. http://education.more4kids.info.

Helmrich,B.H. (2010). "Window of opportunity? Adolescence, music and algebra." Journal of Adolescent Research, 25 (4).

Hetland,L. (2000). "Learning to Make Music Enhances Spatial Reasoning." Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34, 179-238.

Hille, Al, Schupp, J., (2013), “How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills,” SOEPpapers: The German Socio-Economic Panel at DIW Berlin.

Hodges, D., & O'Connell, D., The Impact of Music Education on Academic Achievement. University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Holahan, J.M. "The Development of Music Syntax: Some Observations of Music Babble in Young Children," in Music and Child Development, edited by J.C. Peery, I.W. Peery, and T.W. Draper. New York: Springer-Verlag 1987.

Israel, D. (2009). Staying in School, New York: The Center for Arts Education.

Jensen, Eric. Music with the Brain in Mind. San Diego, California: The Brain Store, Inc. 2000. 

Johnson,C.M. & Memmott, J.E. (2006). "Examination of relationships between participation in school music programs of differing quality and standardized test results." Journal of Research in Music Education, 54 (4), 293.

Kalmar, M. "The Effects of Music Education on the Acquisition of Some Attribute-concepts in Preschool Children" [special supplement, XIIth International Research Seminar in Music Education]. Canadian Music Educator, 30:2 (1989): 51-59.

Keep Music Education Strong. SupportMusic.com "Keeping the Promise. Arts Education for Every Child: The Distance Travelled - The Journey Remaining." 2011 NJ Arts Education Census Project.

Kelley and Sutton-Smith. "A Study of Infant Musical Productivity," in Music and Child Development, edited by J.C. Peery, I.W. Peery, and T.W. Draper. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1987.

Kraus, N., et al., Community music lessons improve the neurophysiological distinction of speech in children. under review.

Kraus, Dr. Nina. “Facing the Music: Musicianship’s effect on the brain.” Canadian Hearing Report, Official Publication of the Canadian Academy of Audiology, Vol. 8 No.2 (2013). <www.canadianaudiology.ca>

Kraus, N. and B. Chandrasekaran, Music training for the development of auditory skills. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2010. 11(8): p. 599-605.

Kraus, N., D.L. Strait, and A. Parbery-Clark, Cognitive factors shape brain networks for auditory skills: spotlight on auditory working memory. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 2012. 1252(1): p. 100-107. 

Kraus N., Slater J., Thompson E.C., Hornickel J., Strait D.L., Nicol T. & White-Schwoch T. (2014), “Auditory learning through active engagement with sound: Biological impact of community music lessons in at-risk children.” Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience.

Kraus N., Chandrasekaran B. (2010), “Music training for the development of auditory skills.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Kwan, A. (2013), “6 Benefits of Music Lessons,” Parents. The Harris Poll®, July 2014.

Levinowitz, L.M., P. Barnes, S. Guerrini, M. Clement, P. D'April, and M.J. Morey. "Measuring Singing Voice Development in the Elementary General Music Classroom." Journal of Research in Music Education, 46:1 (1988): 35-48.

Lipman, J. (2014), “A Musical Fix For American Schools,” The Wall Street Journal.

Liske,K. (2008). Philosophy of Music Education: A Statement of Educational Philosophy and Professional Purpose. University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

K.K. Guilmartin. Music and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers. Princeton, NJ: Music and Movement Center, 1989, 1992, and 1996.

Mathiew, W.A. The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music. Shambhala, 1991.

Merriam, A. (1964). The anthropology of music. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Merritt, Stephanie. Mind, Music and Imagery: Unlocking the Treasures of Your Mind. Santa Rosa, California: Aslan Publishers, 1996.

Miles, Elizabeth. Tune Your Brain: Using Music to Manage Your Mind, Body, and Mood. NY, New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1997.

Moog, H. The Musical Experience of the Preschool Child. London: B. Schlott, 1976. (Original work published in German, 1968).

“The NAMM Foundation and Northwestern University Partner on First-of-Kind Music Training Research Projects.” May 28 (2013). <http://www.namm.org/news/press-releases/namm-foundation-and-northwestern-university>

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Norrby, C. (2000). Youth speech, youth identities, and music worlds in Sweden: Four high- school girls describe music. Text, 20(4), 569-602.

Ortiz, John M. The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Wiser, Inc. 1997.

_______.Nurturing Your child with Music: How Sound Awareness Creates Happy, Smart and Confident Children. Hillsboro, Oregon: Beyond Words Publishing, 1999.

Parbery-Clark, Anderson, Kraus. “Musicians’ Enhanced Neural differentiation of Speech Sounds Arises Early in Life: Developmental Evidence from Ages 3 to 30.” Cerebral Cortex, April 18 (2013). <doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht103>

Parbery-Clark, A., et al., Musical experience and the aging auditory system: implications for cognitive abilities and hearing speech in noise. PLoS One, 2011. 6(5): p. e18082.

Parbery-Clark, A., et al., Musical experience offsets age-related delays in neural timing. Neurobiol Aging, 2012. 33(7): p. 1483. e1. 

Parbery-Clark, A., S. Anderson, and N. Kraus, Musicians change their tune: how hearing loss alters the neural code. Hear Res, 2013. 302: p. 121-131. 

Parbery-Clark A, A.S., Kraus N. , Musical Experience and Hearing Loss: Perceptual, Cognitive and Neural Benefits, in Association for Research in Otolaryngology Symposium. 2014: San Diego, CA. 

Parbery-Clark A., Anderson S., Kraus N. (2013), “Musicians change their tune: how hearing loss alters the neural code.” Hearing Research.

Peery, J.C., I.C. Peery and T.W. Draper. Music and Child Development. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1987.

Petitto,L.A. (2008). "Arts Education, the Brain and Language. In the Arts and Cognition Monograph: The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition." New York: Dana Press, 93- 104.

Phillips, K.H. Teaching Kids to Sing. New York: Schirmer, 1992.

Rauscher, F.H., L.S. Shaw, L.J. Levine, E.L. Wright, W.R. Dennis, and R.L. Newcomb (1997). "Music Training Causes Long-term Enhancement or Preschool Children's Spatial-temporal Reasoning." Neurological Research, 19 (February, 1997).

Pratt, R. & R. Spintge, R. (eds.). (1996). MusicMedicine , Vol. 2. St. Louis: MMB Music. 

President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Reinvestingin Arts Education: Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools, Washington, DC, May 2011. 

Rauscher, F. (2003). Can Music Instruction Affect Children's Cognitive Development? (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED480540.

Reilly, M. (1999). Music, a cognitive behavioral intervention for anxiety and acute pain control in the elderly cataract patient. Unpublished doctoral dissertation: The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at San Antonio, School of Nursing.

Sabbeth, Alex. Rubber-Band Banjos and a Hava Jive Bass: Projects and Activities on the Science of Music and Sound. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.

Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music Lessons Enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514.

Schlaug, G., Norton, A. C., Overy, K., Cronin, K. T., Lee, D. J., & Winner, E. (2004). Effects of music training on children’s brain and cognitive development. In S. D. Lipscomb, R. Ashley, R. O. Gjerdingen, & P. Webster (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (pp. 133-134). UK: Causal Publications.

Scripp, L. (2002). "An Overview of Research on Music and Learning." In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP.

Shields, C. (2001). Music education and mentoring as intervention for at-risk urban adolescents: Their self-perceptions, opinions, and attitudes. Journal of Research in Music Education, 49(3), 273-286.

Skoe, E., J. Krizman, and N. Kraus, The impoverished brain: disparities in maternal education affect the neural response to sound. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013. 33(44): p. 17221-17231.

Skoe, E. and N. Kraus, A little goes a long way: how the adult brain is shaped by musical training in childhood. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2012. 32(34): p. 11507-11510.

Slater, J., A. Tierney, and N. Kraus, At-risk elementary school children with one year of classroom music instruction are better at keeping a beat. PLoS One, 2013. 8(10): p. e77250.

Slater, J., et al., Longitudinal evidence of improved speech-in-noise perception with musical training. under review.

Spintge, R. & Droh, R. (eds.) (1992). MusicMedicine. St. Louis: MMB Music.

Standley, J.M. and C.K. Madsen. "Comparison of Infant Preferences and Responses to Auditory Stimuli: Music, Mother, and Other Female Voice." Journal of Music Therapy, 26:4 (1990).

Steiner, Rudolf. The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone. New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1987.

Storms, Jerry. 101 Music Games for Children. Alameda, California: Hunter House, Inc., 1995.

Storr, Anthony. Music and Mind. New York: Free Press, 1992.

Strait, D.L. and N. Kraus, Biological impact of auditory expertise across the life span: musicians as a model of auditory learning. Hearing Research, 2013.

Strait, D.L. and N. Kraus, Can you hear me now? Musical training shapes functional brain networks for selective auditory attention and hearing speech in noise. Front Psychol, 2011. 2: p. 113.

Strait, D.L., et al., Musical training during early childhood enhances the neural encoding of speech in noise. Brain Lang, 2012. 123(3): p. 191-201.

Strait, D.L., et al., Musicians’ Enhanced Neural Differentiation of Speech Sounds Arises Early in Life: Developmental Evidence from Ages 3 to 30. Cerebral Cortex, 2013.

Strait, D.L., et al., Biological impact of preschool music classes on processing speech in noise. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 2013.

Strait, D.L., Kraus N., (2014), “Biological impact of auditory expertise across the life span: musicians as a model of auditory learning,” Hearing Research. 

Tierney, A., et al., High school music classes enhance the neural processing of speech. Front Psychol, 2013. 4: p. 855.

Tierney, A.T. and N. Kraus, The ability to tap to a beat relates to cognitive, linguistic, and perceptual skills.

Brain and Language, 2013. 124(3): p. 225-231.

Tierney, A. and N. Kraus, The Ability to Move to a Beat Is Linked to the Consistency of Neural Responses to Sound. 

Tierney, A., J. Slater, and N. Kraus, Children with earlier neural responses to sound are better at synchronizing to sound. in preparation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013. 33(38): p. 14981-14988.

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