Research shows that active participation in making music before a child turns seven develops skills that are impossible to acquire from any other activity.
Neurons of people who begun playing an instrument before turning seven demonstrate strong properties for connecting the brain’s right hemisphere with the left. This means that music lessons support both the logic-mathematic and language-analytic parts of the brain. Thus music enhances development and growth of all parts of the brain.
Studies prove that when children learn to play an instrument, they tend to hear and process sounds which they would not be able to hear without previous exposure to music (1). This has a positive impact on neuron development and results in better performance at school.
Research conducted at Northwestern University shows that, in order to achieve the full benefits of music, listening to music alone is not enough. Only an engagement in the music creation process may lead a person to the full realization of his or her potential and reap the benefits of musical stimulation.
Playing an instrument benefits a child in ways that no other activity can:
It develops motor skills by practicing manual precision
It improves memory by requiring the memorization of long musical phrases
It boosts creativity
It increases the ability to process large quantities of information at once
It increases the ability to concentrate effectively
It increases the overall strength of the sensory system
It teaches the ability to read notes and process them into sounds
Furthermore, studies from Northwestern University show that neuron process in children who play an instrument supersede that of children who were just passively listening to music. It also proved that better performance after listening to specific classical music, known as the "Mozart effect" is a myth; only active music making can increase a child’s IQ.
(1) Kraus N, Chandrasekaran B. Music training for the development of auditory skills. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2010