St. Matthew’s Music Curriculum and Brain Development
If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers! Those lessons helped develop your brain. Research clearly shows that if you play a musical instrument, especially if you started early in life, you have better reading skills, better math skills, etc. The younger you start music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain. Additionally, studies tell us that when you perform music (as opposed to simply practicing music), the brain development is at its optimum!
Musical training increases brain volume and strengthens communication between brain areas. Playing an instrument changes how the brain interprets and integrates a wide range of sensory information. We’ve learned that musical proficiency makes for better executive functioning.
Playing a musical instrument can cause fundamental changes in a young person’s brain, shaping both how it functions and how it is physically structured, researchers say. Listening to and making music is not only an auditory experience, but is a multi-sensory and motor experience. Making music over a long period of time can change brain function and brain structure.
At St. Matthew’s Lutheran School, music and music training is a large part of the educational experience. Classroom singing, experiences with rhythm instruments, choir and band opportunities, and chances each year to perform in front of live audiences, are all part of the music program at St. Matthew’s. Here are some examples of the opportunities for music training that St. Matthew’s offers:
- Regular classroom singing of hymns or songs as part of the morning, afternoon, or end-of-day devotions.
- Concerts twice each year for band and classroom performance (3K-8).
- Annual Fine Arts Fair with opportunities to perform at a high level in band, choir, and small group ensembles.
- A music curriculum for upper grade students that requires participation in a performance group (band, choir, or handchimes).
- Use of rhythm and song in the 0-3 year-old Preschool Power Hour program.
- Weekly instrumental lessons for band students in grades 5-8.
- Regular singing as part of the Sunday and midweek worship services.
- Opportunities for piano or instrumental performance as part of worship services.
- Opportunities for private piano lessons given at school.
If you would like to know more about the abundance of research that supports a strong music program like the one at St. Matthew’s, here are a few places to start:
Music Training Optimizes Brain Function, Psychology Today
Early Music Lessons for Brain Development, Science Daily
Music Training Sharpens Brain Pathways, Education Week