A Grade Ahead offers superior math and English programs to enrich your child’s academic potential. Imagine a way to boost math and language skills while also being artistically engaged. Music education does just that. Involving your child in a music program is another way to further provide enrichment. From taking piano lessons to participating in band or choir, there are many ways to get in the music scene. Along with providing academic benefits, music is a great creative outlet, stress reliever, community builder, and confidence booster. Join A Grade Ahead as we explore the perks of music education.

#### MATH SKILLS

Learning music theory is a wonderful way to boost math skills. Beneath the artistic fruit that we know as music lies a logical base of fractions, ratios, and patterns. Rhythm in music is based on fractions. The rhythm in a song is the beat to which we might find ourselves tapping our feet. The melody of music is based on patterns. The melody is the part of a song that makes it recognizable. It is the tune that gets stuck in our heads and that we might find ourselves humming.

The pitch of a sound is based on ratios. We refer to the pitch as being either high or low. For example, someone who sings with a very deep voice sings at a low pitch. Someone who sings with a high voice sings at a higher pitch. Check out this article from The Kennedy Center website for a more in-depth look at these mathematically-musical concepts: Connections: Math and Music (kennedy-center.org)

#### LANGUAGE SKILLS

Music is often referred to as the universal language. Indeed, music and language share many characteristics. Both music and language are written in codes that represent sounds. In English, the letters of the alphabet stand for specific sounds. These letters combine to represent words that have meaning. The words combine to create sentences. Sentences combine to create stories, books, novels, and screenplays. In music, notes represent a sound. Many notes put together create a melody. Several melodies placed together create a song. Then come operas, symphonies, sonatas, Broadway musicals, and rock & roll albums.

In addition to the technical aspects, music and language share practical similarities. When we speak, the words we say have meaning, but the way we say them can alter that meaning. We can sweetly tell someone, “Have a nice day!” in a genuine way, and we mean it. We can conversely use sarcasm, loud volume, rude tone and shout the exact same words, “HAVE A GOOD DAY!!!” The second sentence evokes entirely different emotions than the first. The same goes for music. On the piano, playing three high notes in a detached way makes us feel happy and carefree. Playing those same notes at the bottom of the piano in a forceful way makes us scared or on edge. For a closer look at the connection between music and language, check out this article at the Kennedy Center website: Connections: Language & Music (kennedy-center.org)

#### CREATIVE OUTLET AND STRESS RELIEVER

Practicing math and language skills is very important. Moreover, studying those essential subjects can also be very stressful. As important as it is to work hard and study, it is just as important to relax and find an effective way to relieve stress. Creative outlets are great stress relievers, and music is a wonderful option in the world of creative outlets. Simply listening to music induces relaxation. According to an article at hopkinsmedicine.org, ‘’listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.’’

Being able to play music takes it one step further. Creating the sounds of music on an instrument can be very therapeutic. Beyond playing an instrument, writing an original piece of music is an extremely cathartic way to express emotions. Writing a song may seem like a daunting task to someone who has no musical background. Alternatively, anyone with a basic understanding of music theory can write a song. What a cool way to combine math, language, creative expression, and stress relief all into one!

#### COMMUNITY AND INDIVIDUALITY

Equally important, music can be done both individually and as a team. There are several ways for children to become involved in music education. Many schools have music education programs where students can participate in choir, band, or orchestra. Being a part of those musical communities is like being on a sports team. Members of a choir must learn how to sing in harmony. Instrumentalists in band and orchestra must spend hours practicing together to play their songs just right. Take a marching band as an example, it combines playing an instrument with marching in sync as a large group. These are all great ways to learn collaboration, teamwork, communication, and to build friendships. Check out this video of The Ohio State University Marching Band. Can you imagine how much practice, patience, and teamwork it takes to get that performance just right?

Learning music takes time and effort. Students of music can hone their skills on an individual basis through private lessons. Taking lessons to learn an instrument is a great way to build personal confidence. Sticking with an instrument to the point of mastery is a great accomplishment. Imagine sitting down at the piano and playing for friends and family or singing a solo in a choir. Performing individually can be a very rewarding experience. Through dedication and diligence, musical mastery is a great way to foster self-esteem.

Is your child thinking about pursuing a musical instrument? Does your child already play an instrument? Does your child participate in a music program at school? We would love to hear from you in the comments!