Published: Monday, Apr 17, 2011,
By Kevin Lobo | Place: Bangalore | Agency: Bangalore Mirror (Times of India)

Studies prove that learning music goes beyond having a fun hobby. Our experts tell you why your child should pick up an instrument this summer.

One of the best things about being a kid is the long summer break. While vacations must be used to travel and catch up with friends, it is also an opportunity for learning something new. Learning a musical instrument need not necessarily culminate with rock-god status. Studies show that playing an instrument can help your child in various facets of his/her life. Everybody is born creative, but many people don’t realise it because it’s not encouraged in their early years. We take notes from our very own Grammy-winning keyboardist Louis Banks and child psychologist Salma Prabhu on why an instrument should be learnt this holiday.


A paper published in scientific journal Nature concluded that studying a musical instrument strengthens students’ academic performance. Prabhu feels this stems from the fact that playing music uses both your rational side (left brain) and your creative side (right brain), thus increasing the IQ. Banks adds, “Children have an amazing capacity for mastering new skills, so it’s a good idea to give them the challenge.”


Your child can take the instrument anywhere and play it any time. There is actual scientific proof playing music elevates the state of mind. Prabhu says, “Playing music releases endorphins, the happy hormones. Regardless of whether you are sad or in a bad mood, playing an instrument will always make you feel better.”


Banks says, “Learning an instrument keeps your brain alert.” The pressures to excel academically are intense. A recent US study shows that playing a musical instrument can reverse multiple components of stress. Engaging in a calming expressive ability proves more

effective than merely sitting

down to relax. Prabhu says, “Music calms the nerves and stimulates the brain. It also increases the ability to absorb more information.”


According to Banks, learning chord progression is more difficult than it seems. It requires hours of practice and rigorous discipline. With short attention spans, learning music inculcates a sense of discipline and helps improve the child’s focus by leaps and bounds.


A musical edge helps in school and college. Figuring how to play that song not just elevates shaky adolescent self-esteem but gives a sense of accomplishment. Prabhu says, “This is true transitional phases — from fourth to the fifth standard, childhood to pre-adolescence and adolescence to adulthood. Playing an instrument gives a sense of identity. On an average, in a class of 40 children, only three or four pursue music. So it makes you stand out.” Banks feels that parents must encourage their children’s efforts. He adds, “Playing an instrument teaches the benefits of teamwork. A group playing a song together promotes bonding, friendship, healthy competition, respect and self-belief.”


» Eastern Fare Music Foundation, 1st Main, 1 Block Koramangala, Ejipura. Ph: 41570279
»  The Bangalore School of Music (BSM), No 8, CBI Main Road HMT-HBCS Layout, RT Nagar. Ph: 23536090, 23546090
» Nathaniel School of Music, No. 4, MG Road, (Near Manipal Center). Email: music@nathanielschool.com
» Urban Raga, No.1, 2ND Floor, Kundanahalli Gate, Srinivas Reddy Building, Whitefield. Ph: 66494730