A new research review (Jan 2015) by internationally renowned Professor Susan Hallam MBE, UCL Institute of Education, outlines compelling evidence for the benefits of music education.
Commissioned by the Music Education Council (MEC) and published by the International Music Education Research Centre (iMerc), The Power of Music – a research synthesis of the impact of actively making music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people brings together the vast amount of quality research evidence that has built up over recent years.
It provides the basis for the argument that every child and young person should have access to quality music making opportunities and supports calls for schools to ensure that all pupils receive a thorough, broad and high quality music education.
A year-long study by the Institute of Education, University of London, found that older people who are part of music groups are more likely to be happier – and even healthier – than their peers who opt for alternative leisure pursuits. The researchers surveyed 400 people aged between 50 and 93 who participated in community music sessions. Activities ranged from singing and composing to playing the ukulele and dancing the Samba. They questioned an additional 100 people who attended classes in arts and crafts, yoga or languages, or who were part of a book club or social group. The study found that those who took part in music groups had higher levels of well-being, including a stronger sense of purpose in life and of feeling in control. They also had more positive social relationships than those taking part in other activities.
In August 2010, Professor Susan Hallam of the Institute of Education at the University of London, published an overview paper on the impact of music on intellectual, personal and social development. Drawing on the results of numerous studies, she concludes that playing an instrument can lead to a sense of achievement; an increase in self-esteem; increased confidence; self-discipline; and provide a means of self-expression. While participating in musical groups promotes friendships; social skills; a sense of belonging; team-work; co-operation; commitment; mutual support; increased concentration and provides an outlet for relaxation.
She is about to (December 2014) publish an updated research paper.