Music learning and brain development

Children learn best when they enjoy learning. As a performance-centred school, The McDonald College is dedicated to giving your child the best growth opportunities.

Music is a great way to do this: tapping into the auditory part of their brains and helping them develop skills for speech and language development, as well as social interaction.

Focus, creativity, and self-expression

Music education is not just about music. Music is an excellent way to teach children a range of skills that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

Music helps children develop focus, concentration, and self-control: these three skills are essential for effective learning. Music helps children learn how to focus without getting distracted by other things going on around them – and this skill can apply outside the classroom as well.
It also helps children develop creativity: When we say ‘creative’, we mean the ability to develop new ways of doing things or solving problems – something all students need as they go through school.

Creating music requires this innovative mindset. It is not enough to simply play notes from sheet music (although this is a good skill to have). Students must also be able to think critically about what sounds good together, rather than relying solely on what someone else has written beforehand.

Increase in brain function

Music is also good for your brain: Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that children who took music lessons showed greater improvement in verbal memory than those who did not take lessons. This suggests that learning an instrument may enhance verbal recall skills in children.

The brain of a young child is more malleable, or ‘plastic’ than adult brains, meaning they can absorb information much easier than adults can.
The concept of plasticity is key in neuroscience, it centres on the fact that the brain can change its structure and function in response to stimuli from the environment (eg, learning). Neural plasticity also plays an important role in brain development: children can learn new skills quickly without needing to build new connections between neurons each time they learn something new.

An evolving music taste

As children get older, their musical tastes change. For example, many pre-schoolers enjoy listening to songs about familiar topics such as animals and trucks and they can often sing along with these songs. By Kindergarten, it is common for children to start singing songs that tell stories or share ideas about how the world works. As they move into Primary and Secondary school, more complex genres of music become popular among young people: pop, rock and rap are some examples.

Furthermore, learning to play an instrument can help your child develop the skills needed to learn other instruments. For example, if you teach your child how to play the piano, they will be able to use those same techniques when learning another keyboard instrument like a synthesiser or organ, not to mention the theory which can be applied to basically all instruments.


Like many art forms, learning music is a way of expanding the child’s horizons. This includes, not only acquiring skills specific to the instrument they are learning (or to singing) but also making them more creative and better problem solvers, as well as improving their motor and cognitive skills. This in turn results in a positive outcome in many other aspects of their lives, inside and outside of school.

If you are interested in learning more about the Music Stream at The McDonald College, please attend one of our Open Days / Mornings or Book a Tour.