Music and Sports: A More Well-Rounded Education

Apr 27, 2022

The benefits of early education in music is a topic we have covered at great length on this blog in the past. We’ve talked about how it can help improve grades, help with social development, and increase language comprehension and problem-solving skills. We have even explored how music lessons can help give students who are not adept at or interested in sport that important feeling of teamwork, camaraderie, and goal orientation. And while it is certainly true that participating in music can help less athletically inclined children learn and develop many of the same skills and knowledge as playing on a sports team, nothing really teaches teamwork quite like playing on a team. There is simply no substitute for the real thing.

That’s why this week we’ll be taking a slightly different approach. Indeed, this week we’ll be branching out from music just a bit; music education is, of course, a wonderful tool for developing a plethora of skills, behaviours, and benefits, but children do not grow up in a vacuum. As with most things in life, the benefits that an education in music provides can be multiplied when combined with other character and social skill developing activities. Today, we’ll be exploring how these sorts of skills can be built upon and developed further when children are exposed to both music and sports.

The Benefits of Playing Sports

The endless list of benefits children can gain from playing sports is well documented, and seems to grow on a continuing basis. Participating in physical activities like sports helps keep children healthy and energetic. The activity helps reduce the risk of childhood obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Starting your children in sports young also helps them to develop good exercise and activity habits that can work as a solid foundation for exercise and improved and continued general health as adults. But of course, physical health isn’t the only benefit. Consider these other important benefits:

Improves Physical Skills

Nothing quite teaches these things like the competition of sport. Playing an instrument certainly teaches hand-eye coordination, but balance and body awareness can only be learned through pushing the body to explore its limits. “Little league” recreational sports teams provide the perfect environment to fully develop these important skills.

Learning to Work Together as a Team

While both playing an instrument as a part of an ensemble and playing on a sports team teach camaraderie and teamwork, they are not the same. Playing your own part of a musical score is indeed part of the team, but it is still remarkably individual. Playing on a team created an activity where all positions must work together; the defense passing to the offense, the offense falling back to help defend.

Learning to Focus on a Goal

An offshoot of working together as a team, sports help children learn to set a goal, focus on it, and work towards it. This actually works to benefit children in two distinct ways.

  • The first is working toward personal goals. Each member of a sports team has their own assigned task or position. Participating in sports teaches children to work to improve their own performance; to be the best at their position that they can.
  • The second is working together as a team to achieve a goal. Each team member and each position may have their own specific task, but each of those positions works together in its own way to move the team forward as a whole towards its goal.


The Social Rewards of Participation

I am not actually referring to the “participation” trophies that many children’s teams give out at the end of the season. No, I am referring to the more intangible rewards like new friendships based on a common interest, respect among peers, and the exploration of a new passion.

And Possibly Most Importantly

Have fun!

The Benefits of Playing Music

Participating in a music program can provide many of the same benefits as playing on a sports team. Teamwork, focus, and fun are all complimentary lessons that both activities teach in their own way and with their own focus. But where sport is more focused on physical activity and the group, music helps develop many of the psychological skills sport may lack. Some of these benefits include:

Developing Creative Thinking

While sports can certainly help develop a certain kind of creative thinking (developing strategies to counter an opponent for example), this is an area that an education in music can build on even further. From simply playing a piece of music composed hundreds of years ago, to writing an original piece, music helps to develop and nurture the creative part of children’s minds.

Learning to Express Emotions

While sports can certainly be emotional, they cannot compare to the way music affects us and teaches us how to express emotions. An education in music has been linked to more emotional stability later in life, and music, in general, provides a wonderfully cathartic experience. We all listen to sad music when we are feeling low, and energetic music when we are in a good mood. Playing music that corresponds to a certain emotion not only helps with that emotion but also gives a better understanding of it.

Improved Language and Reasoning Skills

One area where sports falls completely flat when compared to music is language and reasoning. Researchers still aren’t 100% certain why learning and playing music helps to develop these specific skills, but study after study has held up these findings. Students who take band classes show significantly improved reading and comprehension skills, as well as deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills that simply cannot be compared to those learned through sport alone.

Music and Sports: A Complete Education Requires Both

Growing up is a complicated process that requires more than just the basics. If the goal is a well-rounded adult with a full and productive life, then the development of social skills, discipline, cooperation, creative thinking, emotional competence, and strong communications skills are all necessary from a young age. Combining an education in music and participation in sports is the perfect way to make sure your children have a solid foundation for the rest of their life.

And hey, a variety of activities is fun for them, and you!

Want to start them on their own musical journey? Check out all of The Music Studio’s lessons, classes, and summer camps, and sign up today!