“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
- Bertold Auerbach
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
- Plato
“Where words fail music speaks.”
- Hans Christian Anderson
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
- Victor Hugo
“Music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life.”
- Gabriel Faure
“If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.”
- Thomas Carlyle
“After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
- Aldous Husley
“Music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life.”
- Gabriel Faure
“Music is the mediation between the spiritual and the sensual life.”
- Ludwig van Beethoven
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
- Fredrich Nietzsche
“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”
- Plato
Goal: To acquaint students with the European musical legacy, helping them to discern and appreciate the art of music while developing presentation and performance skills and enhancing personal qualities such as determination and self-esteem.

Child Development

Impact of piano lessons on child development


If you are a parent, who decides to be actively involved in the education of your children and would like to be certain that they succeed academically, the following several paragraphs are for you.

According to numerous studies it is known, that there is a profound link between music and intelligence. IQ is calculated based on student’s overall intellectual development with a mean score of 100 points given to candidates. A study published by Schellenberg (2004), has demonstrated that musical training is positively correlated to an increase in the children’s IQ score. Schellenberg (2005) writes that his findings of the broad intellectual benefits of music lessons are consistent with the literature as a whole and include reports of positive associations between music lessons and reading, mathematical, verbal and spatial abilities. Spatial-temporal reasoning or ‘thinking in pictures’, has been recognised as essential to how people think in the technical disciplines. In their study, Rauscher et al (1997) conclude that music lessons, especially piano instruction, is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning maths and science. Overall, children who received piano keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial temporal ability then the children who had not received piano keyboard training. Graziano et al (1999) suggests that piano keyboard training combined with spatial temporal animation reasoning is the most effective solution for teaching kids maths concepts. It was also found that groups of students who received piano training and maths video game training performed significantly better in understanding the spatial basis of fractions and ratios then students who had only maths video game training or no training at all (Graziano et al, 1999).

Children who take piano lessons learn valuable qualities such as concentration, coordination, self-esteem and empathy. Many writers agree that empathy is the chief motivator of altruism and that empathetic concern is crucial for promoting prosocial actions. In a study by Hietolahti-Ansten and Kalliopuska (1990), 12-year-old children who had been active musically for 6 years were compared to the same-age control children who had no musical instruction. Empathy was evaluated using the modified Mehrabian and Epstein Empathy Scale and the Battle Self-esteem Scale (Form B), with the musically trained children scoring significantly higher averages than the control set. Rabinowitch et al (2012) evaluated empathy and discovered that after a year of training the musically trained children had higher empathy scores then the control group. Hietolahti-Ansten and Kalliopuska (1990) also found that an active interest in music improves various measures of self esteem, including total and social self-esteem. The group that had studied music reported a high level of self-esteem, while the control group who did not study music only measured a moderate level of self-esteem.

It has been found that musical training improves verbal memory function. Ho Yim-Chi et al (2003), report that students with continued music training demonstrated significant verbal memory improvements. The duration of the training was shown to be related to an increase in the overall improvement, with students who trained longer showing more improvement (Ho Yim-Chi et al, 2003). A similar verbal memory advantage had been demonstrated by groups of young adults with musical training (Kilgour et al, 2000). In the Canadian study, young adults who had musical training performed significantly better in recalling verbal material than did the control participants across all conditions.

Nervous system function declines with age, which causes difficulties for older adults attempting to understand speech in various listening environments. A study by Schwoch et al (2013), demonstrates that musical training at a young age improves sound recognition and processing in later life. The study proposed that continued musical training (4-14 years) in childhood sharpens neural processing well into adult age.

What does all this mean for your kids? Based on these studies, it is clear that the answer to questions like, “Does music make people smarter, more rounded individuals?” is a qualified “yes”. Piano lessons are recommended as a complementary educational instrument for improving children’s academic performance. Music lessons can also lead to short-term and long-term benefits which are not limited to academic performance, but are linked to a better overall sense of well being, elevated levels of confidence, empathy and self-esteem. Prolonged musical study improves verbal memory, which helps with vocabulary building and other abstractions involving language. This means that from an academic perspective, the benefits of children leaning music are obvious for all to see.

Please contact the St. Petersburg Music Studio, if you are planning to use text from this article in internet media, print or publication.


Graziano, A. B., Peterson, M., & Shaw, G. L. (1999). Enhanced learning of proportional math through music training and spatial-temporal training. Neurological Research, 21(2), 139-152.

Hietolahti-Ansten, M., & Kalliopuska, M. (1990). Self-esteem and empathy among children actively involved in music. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 71(3), 1364–1366.

Ho, Y. C., Cheung, M. C., & Chan, A. S. (2003). Music training improves verbal but not visual memory: cross-sectional and longitudinal exploration in children. Neuropsychology, 17(3), 439-450.
See: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/neu-173439.pdf for the full text.

Kilgour, A. R., Jakobson, L. S., & Cuddy, L. L. (2000). Music training and rate of presentation as mediators of text and song recall. Memory and Cognition, 28(5), 700-710.
See: http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.3758%2FBF03198404.pdf for the full text.

Rabinowitch, T. C., Cross, I., & Burnard, P. (2012). Long-term musical group interaction has a positive influence on empathy in children. Psychology of Music, doi:10.1177/0305735612440609.
See: http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.3758%2FBF03198404.pdf for the full text.

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., Levine, L. J., Wright, E. L., Dennis, W. R., & Newcomb, R. L. (1997). Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning. Neurological Research, 19(2), 2-8.
See: http://www.prospectheightsmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Music-and-Spatial-Task-Performance-A-Causal-Relationship.pdf for the text (pages 3 and 6 missing).

Schellenberg, G. E. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514.
See: http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3psygs/MusicLessons.pdf for the full text.

Schellenberg, G. E. (2005). Music and cognitive abilities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(6), 317-320.
See: http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3psygs/SchellenbergCDPS2005.pdf for the full text.

Schwoch, T. W., Carr, K. W., Anderson. S., Strait, D. L., & Kraus, N. (2013). Older adults benefit from music training in early life: biological evidence for long-term training driven plasticity. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(45), 17667-17674.
See: http://www.soc.northwestern.edu/brainvolts/documents/WhiteSchwoch_etal_JNeuro2013.pdf for the full text.


1. An excellent website with scholarly research papers by Dr Carlos Santos-Luiz (PhD Psychology of Music) in English and Portuguese on the positive effects of music training.