Untold numbers of studies reveal that the long-term benefits derived by children (not to mention adults) from guitar lessons are far-reaching and powerful in their scope, and Ileen Zovluck, an accomplished New York City classical guitarist and classical guitar teacher in Teaneck, NJ, has brought just such an article to our attention. We highly recommend the article as a source of irrefutable evidence that not only do guitar lessons, and music lessons in general, enhance the experiential nature of life, they also have the capacity to increase IQ, while expanding cognitive abilities such as: reading, symbolic and spatial reasoning, verbal and mathematical skills, self-esteem, and general intelligence.

Ileen was kind enough to not only forward the article to us, but to write an informative, enlightening preamble to the article. We greatly appreciate Ileen’s passion for guitar, music, and her guitar teaching, and we invite you to check out the Ileen Zovluck guitar teacher page where you can see the full details of her guitar lessons, as well as view her video interview with Find a Guitar Teacher’s James Berry, in which her love of music, guitar, and teaching are clearly evident. Thanks, Ileen!

To see the article on The Strad, an online British string-instrument magazine, please click here.

And here is the preface, which Ileen has written. We’re sure you’ll find reading the article, and Ileen’s preface, illuminating material.

Preface to 1/5/2015 article in The Strad.
by Ileen Zovluck

Ideas about the importance of musical experience as part of a general education received endorsement from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) and F.W.A. Froebel (1782–1852), all of whom had a strong impact on educational thought and policies. These conclusions have been unequivocal for decades – generations – close to a century – in psychological, medical, educational, and musical research.

Musical training can have a “profound” and lasting impact on the brain, creating additional neural connections in childhood that can last a lifetime and thus help compensate for cognitive declines later in life, says neuropsychologist Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, of Emory University in Atlanta. The many hours spent learning and practicing specific types of motor control and coordination, along with the music­-reading and listening skills that go into playing an instrument in youth, are all factors contributing to the brain boost that shows up later in life.  In a 2003 study, Harvard neurologist Gottfried Schlaug found that the brains of adult professional musicians had a larger volume of gray matter than the brains of non-­musicians had. Schlaug and colleagues also found that after 15 months of musical training in early childhood, structural brain changes associated with motor and auditory improvements begin to appear.

Educators in New York City estimate that up to 85% of public school students have not received adequate musical instruction by the time they reach high school. Despite this nearly universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education.

The National Association for Music Education provides a concise list of the proven benefits that apply to the study of an instrument or voice. Before we consider the impressive results of the study conducted at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, here is the NAofME’s old, but entirely contemporary list:

  1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning.
  2. A mastery of memorization.
  3. Students learn to improve their work.
  4. Increased coordination.
  5. A sense of achievement.
  6. Kids stay engaged in school.
  7. Success in society.
  8. Emotional development.
  9. Students learn pattern recognition.
  10. Better SAT scores.
  11. Fine-tuned auditory skills.
  12. Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity.
  13. Music can be relaxing.
  14. Musical instruments can teach discipline.
  15. Preparation for the creative economy.
  16. Development in creative thinking.
  17. Music can develop spatial intelligence.
  18. Kids can learn teamwork.
  19. Responsible risk-taking.
  20. Better self-confidence.

Leave a Comment