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Studies show kids are smarter if they learn music.  It helps with brain development, motor skills, and more.   Did you know that playing an instrument slows aging, increases self-esteem, and even helps children with math skills?   

On top of that… it is FUN! 

Now that our kids are learning to play the piano, I have loved watching them learn to play.  The confidence that learning a new song gives them is great – all on its own.   I love the look on their faces when they come to get me because they want to play a new song that they’ve learned (or created).  

If you’re wondering if your child should take music lessons, I have some studies to share with you – to help you make the right decision for your child. 🙂 

Should Kids Take Piano Lessons or learn an instrument?

Yes & No. 

Learning to play a musical instrument is important, but only if the child shows interest.  Studies on parts of the brain show that music makes you smarter.  

I wouldn’t make a child take lessons if they are truly uninterested, but if there is any interest at all, jump on the opportunity.   I personally wish that I had stuck with it longer – I wish I could just sit down at the piano and play anything, but kids don’t’ think about these things.  They don’t think that playing the piano as an adult will benefit them (even if it’s just because it brings them joy).

So… Let’s look at the evidence.

A piano keyboard with text in from of it.

The Mozart Effect. 
According to the lead researcher of NCBI: “Long-term effects of music were studied in groups of pre-school children aged 3-4 years who were given keyboard music lessons for six months, during which time they studied pitch intervals, fingering techniques, sight-reading, musical notation and playing from memory.

At the end of the training, all the children were able to perform simple melodies by Beethoven and Mozart.

When they did they were then subjected to spatial-temporal reasoning tests calibrated for age, and their performance was more than 30% better than that of children of similar age given either computer lessons for 6 months or no special training ”  This means that simply listening to music or taking music classes has a profound impact.

Studies at Northwestern University also prove that music helps children’s brains develop faster.

The auditory neuroscience laboratory of NCBI also found that adults aged slower when they had played music education. The study was done on adults ages 60-83 and the “correlational results suggest a strong predictive effect of high musical activity throughout the life span on preserved cognitive functioning in advanced age.”

A Harvard study found that music improves the grey matter.  When children practice extensively from childhood through their careers, they have higher gray matter volume differences in motor, auditory, and visual-spatial brain regions when comparing professional musicians (keyboard players) with a matched group of amateur musicians and non-musicians.  In fact, structural brain changes occur after only 15 months of musical training in early childhood.

According to Wikipedia, “Grey matter contains most of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies. The grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.”

piano lessons for kids - child at piano

ABC News found that participants of a study who played music from childhood could reverse or slow the decline of memory loss, as well as hearing loss.  They even found that it reduced depression & anxiety.

Martin F. Gardiner & his coworkers at the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University completed a study that showed that playing an instrument helped second graders with math – the scores of those who played the piano had a significantly higher score than their peers that did not play the piano.

In a study where several pianos were gifted to a group of students (free of cost), they measured the results of those students with the piano against the students in the test group without the piano & lessons.   

“The results indicated that piano instruction had a positive effect on children’s self-esteem and school music marks” ~ Journals at SagePub.

Tools to help your child to learn to play the piano:

These tools make learning the piano just a little easier for your kids (and yourself!)  I am sharing three affiliate links to tools that we have that have worked well for our family.  

1. Give them the tools to play (like a digital piano) 

We wanted a piano, but I did not want to haul a several-hundred-pound piano into the house, so we found an amazing alternative.   A digital piano that looks & feels like a non-digital piano.   Just put it on a stand, on a desk, or even on the floor… and you are ready to go!  

Our kids love this Casio piano.  We have the CDP-S150 Compact Digital Piano.At under 25 pounds, this compact digital piano is great.  Weighing in at under 25 pounds, this ultra-portable piano can be powered by 6xAA batteries.  It has a realistic piano sound and feel- with a weighted hammer action keyboard with 88 full-size keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures.   

My favorite feature is that it comes equipped with a stereo speaker system plus a headphone output for quiet practice.   With four kids, this is key!   Each child can practice without the family listening until they are ready for everyone to hear. 🙂 

2. Letters for the keyboard or piano 
The stickers are printed on transparent vinyl and coated with a long-lasting adhesive material (that will not damage your keyboard.)

It works for any keyboard & helps kids learn to read music – it really is a great way to help them learn to play the piano. 

A close up of a keyboard.

3. Piano Note Flash Cards
Yep- basic flashcards are a great learning tool.  The flashcards include all notes, symbols, and terms needed for the first two years of study on any musical instrument.

Cards are color-coded by category and are numbered on the back.

Music designs with text above them.

I  hope that helped you to make the decision that is best for your family!  


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. I’d love to believe that music brings many benefits and makes us better people. It is a blessing that both my son and daughter are interested in playing the piano.