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The Soundtrack to Success: Why Music Education is Key To Personal Growth

Discover the transformative role of music education in personal growth. Understand how the universal language of music unlocks emotions, fosters cognitive development, and leads to The Soundtrack to Success.

Young Children playing music with their expert teacher from Music Kids Academy

From Beethoven to Beyonce, music has been a driving force in human culture for centuries. But did you know that music education can also play a crucial role in personal growth and success?

Research shows that learning to play an instrument or sing can have a significant cognitive, emotional, and social benefits that extend way beyond the rehearsal room.

In this article, we’ll explore the many ways music education can help us develop skills, build character, and reach our full potential. So, whether you’re a seasoned musician or have never picked up an instrument before, read on to discover how the power of music can unlock the soundtrack of your own success.

Playing Your Way to a Better Brain: The Cognitive Benefits of Music Education

There is little doubt that listening to music can improve your mood and behaviour, and can have physiological effects on the body that are easily seen such as increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Imagine watching the film ‘Gladiator’ without the epic soundtrack depicting the battle scene or enduring lockdowns without music to keep you company.

But what about playing music? Of course, music teachers up and down the land will argue the case for music education.

But is there any reason to have music in our primary schools and even increase the amount we expose our children to.

In October 2017 there was a widely spread article in Guardian (UK) telling us the story of a Bradford school introducing music to each student for 6 hours each week.

The article can be found here:

The report tells how the school went from special measures to good by Ofsted ratings and was, at the time the article was written, in the top 10% nationally for pupils progress in reading, writing and maths.

Is this an isolated incident? Well, no.

According to history Thomas Jefferson was a gifted violin player and used his skill to help write the declaration of independence when he struggled to come up with the right words.

Albert Einstein too – regarded as one of the most intelligent men in history – was a violin player after his mum bought him the instrument when he was young. He himself attributed his skills to playing music and his friend, G.J. Withrow, said Einstein often figured out the greatest of physics problems and equations by improvising music on the violin.

Fast forward to the present day and the use of MRI scanners and similar have greatly increased our understanding of music on the human brain. Recent studies have shown that if a child learns a musical instrument from an early age their brain becomes more capable of processing complex information.

Playing a music instrument involves all aspects of the brains nervous system functioning at the same time; emotional, sensory, auditory, and visual get a good work out all at the same time. This is resulting in the linguistic and mathematical in the left hemisphere of the brain are trained to work with the novel functions of the right.

The improved communication of both sides of the brain results in the student being able to solve problems more effectively and creatively in academic and social situations.

Beyond the Notes: How Music Education Fosters Character and Social Skills

What’s your favourite film? And why? Can you give a formative answer? Or is it a simple ‘just cuz’ sort of answer?

Outside of the teamwork element of playing music in bands and orchestras there is an element of music that can not be found in maths, science or most other core subjects. That is the acceptance that whatever you do, it will never be perfect.

Yes, the theory of music is right or wrong – at least to a certain point – but the performance of it is down to expression and interpretation.

When students study music at university or if a player decides to take advanced performance grades, they are required to write performance notes. Within these performance notes there is an element of why you are paying it the way you are. In essence, you are arguing your point. You are debating the reasons you have chosen to perform the piece in that way.

Where subjects have ‘right and wrong’ answers, there is no debate. You are either right, or you are wrong. Not so with music; and perhaps this area where music is not quantifiable is it’s greatest downfall in education.

The ability to debate and argue your case to persuade others to your way of thinking is a skill under-encouraged. Often in children (and adults) an inability to communicate your point leads to frustration, anger and occasionally lashing out. It’s interesting to note that in 2015 a study at Sheffield Hallam University showed that young boys with expressive language problems were significantly more likely to be convicted of a petty crime. Studies in the US have also shown that a lack of ability to express yourself leads to many young offenders reoffending.

Taking part in playing music is a great way to express yourself through music (or, in fact, other art forms do the same) but beyond that, students are taught to argue why they have chosen to write or play in a certain way. This skill in communication can – and is – used in many other walks of their own lives.

The Music of Motivation: How Learning an Instrument Can Boost Your Confidence and Drive

How are you at public speaking?

Are you a master of your own vocabulary with the ability to keep an audience listening and in the palm of your hand? Or do you stumble, using a multitude of nonsense words while scratching your rear end?

It’s an interesting, personal path for me that in years gone by I was certainly the latter. 18 Years ago, when I was fronting a band for the first time, I was terrible. ‘And’, ‘it’, ‘but’ and ‘erm’ were my most used words and my backside got a right good scratching.

Over time, though, I improved, and today feel comfortable speaking to audiences ranging from a paying group to see a local band to teachers conferences and business owners.

In a similar way, when children first start to perform in might be in front of their parents and siblings, later going to peer to peer performances and in time, leading to a paying audience.

This skill goes well beyond the music being played, as they are also required to announce the music they are going to play, give a little detail about it and at the end accept the audiences applause.

Even if the performer is not required to speak (after all, orchestras and bands do not require a performer to leave their seat and talk to an audience…normally!) the courage to get up and play can and does play dividends to a child’s confidence level. But perhaps most significantly is the ability to make mistakes and have the confidence to carry on. Playing music is a long journey and one in which there is never a ‘perfect’ performance. When a child takes the stage and makes their first mistake, the drive to continue regardless must come through.

Over time, improvements are made and the performance improves. With this confidence comes a better performance and so on. By using these mental skills in everyday life a student will learn to think over their errors and move on from them, accepting that ‘good is good enough’ and with practice and time, improvements will be made.

Very much like writing articles and publishing them!


Profile Picture of Brendan O'Neill Founder of Music Kids Academy

Brendan O’Neill

Brendan O’Neill is a multi-award winning business owner, musician and music teacher. His ability to reach young minds has taken him across Europe, Asia and online throughout the world.

Brendan also works as a qualified Drum Major for the Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers – but he’s not all about music.

His recent achievements include helping business owners in the music and arts sector to reach their own potential and is the author of a business circular aimed to ‘helping those that are willing to be helped’


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