10 Ways Music Helps Children in School

Sep 7, 2022

If your child’s school is like many others, there’s been an effort to trim budgets while trying to improve academic performance. Far too often this results in the arts getting cut, and music education slowly disappearing as a result. This, unfortunately, is due to the prevailing opinion that music isn’t as important as the “core” subjects. However, plenty of research has shown that an education in music can help improve a student’s overall academic success. To that end, let’s take a look at 10 ways music helps children do better in their other classes.

How Music Helps

Test Scores

According to PBS, “A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs.” That means that children who have the benefit of a high-quality music education consistently perform better on tests in other subjects than those who don’t have a musical education.

Language Skills

Again, according to PBS, “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways.” What’s more, as we have recently discussed, learning to play a musical instrument helps to improve how the brain understands spoken language, which can even help students learn a second language.

Math Skills

One of the fundamental aspects of music is, of course, the notes themselves. Learning to read music means learning quarter, half, and whole notes – in other words, learning fractions. As explained by Getting Smarter, “When a music pupil has spent time learning about rhythm, he has learned to count. He is not counting numbers, per se, but he is most certainly using logic to count out the rhythms and bars, and working his way methodically through the piece. Many musical concepts have mathematical counterparts.”

Listening Skills

One key thing students need in order to be successful in every academic subject is the ability to listen to what the teacher is saying. Learning to play a musical instrument means learning to listen to both yourself, and the rest of the band, at the same time. This teaches students to hear tempo, dynamica, tuning, and harmonies, all at the same time. This, in turn, helps the auditory development of the brain and can be applied to other areas in life.

A Harder Working Brain

Did you know that the brain of a musician literally works differently than that of a non-musician? It’s true! In fact, as Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University, told PBS, “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain.”


No one can deny that creativity can be a benefit to pretty much every academic subject. And music definitely helps nurture a child’s creative powers! What’s more, this nurturing can have a profound impact on the rest of their lives. In fact, many employers say creativity is one of the top five skills that are most important for success in the workplace.

Furthermore, music also helps with originalism and flexibility, two key factors of creativity. And lastly, people who have graduated from a music program say that creativity, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking skills are all important parts of their job, even if they don’t work in music.


Another benefit music can bring that is good for kids in other academic areas is improving their self-esteem. This is because learning to play an instrument gives children the opportunity to learn something new, and develop confidence as their skills grow. What’s more, when students all work together towards a common goal, they understand and appreciate that they are being heard and understood by their peers. This helps to create a sense of security and acceptance – key characteristics of building self-esteem.

Stress Relief

A stress-free student is a better, more focused student. Everyone knows that listening to your favourite band or song can be relaxing and help to lift your mood. The same can be said for making music. Playing an instrument can give children a release – something calming and fulfilling that they can immerse themselves in.

Help With Special Needs Children

Music can also have a profound impact on children with special needs. Among the many ways music helps special needs children, perhaps the most basic way is that it helps them open up and communicate, something many such children struggle with. For this reason alone, many schools are using music therapy after-school programs to help children with special needs.

Improved Graduation Rates

Finally, schools that maintain their music programs have higher graduation rates than those that cut them. According to DoSomething.org, “Schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2% graduation rate and 93.9% attendance rate compared to schools without music education, which average 72.9% graduation and 84.9% attendance.”

Final Thoughts

Even if your child’s school doesn’t have a proper music program, you can still help your children reap these benefits. Since 1990, The Music Studio in Toronto has focused on offering the best in music education, customer service and value for money. We believe that these themes are reflected in the examples below and in the relationships we build with our students. We invite you to experience The Music Studio difference for yourself. We’ve got programs and lessons for all ages and skill levels, both in-person and online. Check out what we’ve got to offer, and sign up today!