5 Academic Benefits of Musical Study

Music Lessons Piano 2

Music has always been an important part of my life. From the time I was very small, I loved to sing and would sit with my mom on the piano bench, singing every song I knew while she played for me.  To this day, I LOVE to sing.  I’m also the student who had learning disabilities all the way through school.  It wasn’t until I was in 12th grade that we had an answer to why school came so hard…I have dyslexia.  As a child and teen, I struggled constantly with reading, math and science.  I can remember being in 2nd  grade and praying that my teacher would not call on me to read out loud, because I was just terrible at it.  However, no matter how hard reading was, or math or science or algebra (which, let’s be honest, I haven’t used since finishing the class), I had music and I KNEW that was one area that I excelled.  Music gave me an appropriate way to express myself when I wanted to scream in frustration, throw my books or hit something (okay, someone).  Music provided me a means of appropriate self-expression and offered me with opportunities to develop my creativity, which allowed me to think outside the box.  Academically, music was my anchor.  It taught me perseverance, individualized self belief and an overall discipline that not only allowed me to graduate from high school 2nd in my class, but go to college, receive a bachelor’s degree, then return to complete a master’s degree.  The academic benefits I gained from musical study were a very important part of my success in high school, college and graduate school.

5 Academic Benefits of Musical Study.

  1. Studying music sharpens concentration, teaches perseverance, and creates better study habits.
  2. Studying music increases listening skills, the ability to pick out important auditory signals and effectively filter out distracting noise.
  3. Studying music improves reading and vocabulary skills.
  4. Studying music strengthens the same part of the brain used in complex math skills.
  5. Studying music has been shown to demonstrate increases verbal intelligence in preschool children.

If you want to know more about the benefits of musical study, please like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/desertsoundsofwellness and follow us on this blog, as we will be visiting other music related topics in the future.  If you are interested in studying music, please visit our website at www.desertsoundsofwellness and read about the music instruction opportunities that we offer to students in the Phoenix Metro area.

5 Tips for Practicing

Piano 6


I set my next piece on the stand and glanced up at the timer sitting on top of the piano.  “Just 15 more minutes, just 15 more minutes, just 15 more…” I thought to myself, before reaching up and moving the timer down 5 minutes, “Just 10 more minutes.”  I chanted to myself.  After playing through my piece, I again glanced up at the time, “7 more minutes…” a sigh escaped.  Playing through my assignments one last time, I wondered how 30 minutes, with just a little adjustment, could take so long.  Leaping from the bench as the timer dinged, I heard my mother.

“5 more minutes.”  She called from the kitchen. 

“But, it dinged.” I called back with some annoyance.

“5 more minutes.” I sighed again and sat down again.  Never could get anything by her.

Practicing can be challenge for any student studying music and any parent helping a student study music.  However, practicing doesn’t have to be a complete drudgery.  Here are 5 tips for making practice both beneficial and fun.

1.  Place a practice chart where the student can easily see it and recognize the achievement of each practice on the chart.  A practice chart is a visual representation of the student’s work.  Situating it in a place of honor allows the student to see his/her accomplishments and gain a sense of recognition for a job well done.   http://www.desertsoundsofwellness.com/practicechart.pdf

2.  Make the student’s practice time a bonding time.  Parents with young students have the opportunity to make a student’s practice time into a “quality time” activity.  By working towards a common goal together, such as completing a piece or preparing for a recital, a unique opportunity is created for both the parent and child. 

3.  Include musical games during practice times.  Parents working with their students can turn up the “fun” factor by including musical games.  Musical “Concentration” can work on either note identification or rhythm.  Games like” Measure Up!” work on rhythms in a variety of time signatures.  “Dominotes” works on recognizing values of notes and rests.  There are many ready made musical games that can be purchased and for those creative parents, numerous games can be developed to learn various music concepts.

4.  Establish a set practice time each day and honor it.  Once establishing a time to practice, stick to it.  Keep distraction and noise to a minimum during practice times.

5.  Be free with the praise.  Find something to praise and compliment about each practice.  Focus on the positive and the improvements the student has made during the practice.  A “Good Job!” can go a long way with a child and make him or her more willing to continue working toward the goal…to play the piece well.

If you want to know more about the benefits of musical study, please like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/desertsoundsofwellness and follow us on this blog, as we will be visiting other music related topics in the future.  If you are interested in studying music, please visit our website at www.desertsoundsofwellness and read about the music instruction opportunities that we offer to students in the Phoenix Metro area.

Welcome To Desert Sounds of Wellness

Playing Guitar


Standing outside the classroom, I leaned on the wall and tried to encourage myself to go inside.  I was a sophomore in college, attending a new school and starting a new major.   To date, all my focus, work, and ambition had been directed at making it on a Broadway stage, but my family, who were well established in the medical profession, had wanted me to focus on something practical.  So, in a nod to their wishes, I had found this little known profession called Music Therapy and decided to add a new major.  As I took my seat, I sighed inwardly.  I wanted to be singing, acting and dancing, not sitting at this desk with a stack of textbooks in front of me.  As the teacher arrived, I resigned myself to a semester, and in fact many semesters, of boring study….and then he spoke.  I discovered during that first lecture that Music Therapy is the art and science of using music therapeutically, to effect positive change in a person’s mind, body and spirit.  It seemed incredible to me then that this medium that I loved so much could make such an impact on so many areas of life.  And, it seems just as incredible today!


Desert Sounds of Wellness offers Music Therapy and music related services.  Music Therapy is the enhancement of human capabilities through the planned use of musical influences on brain functioning. A Music Therapist designs musical experiences to target specific areas of the brain in order to elicit predetermined changes in the way those areas of the brain function and govern themselves. All Music Therapy goal-directed interventions are aimed at enhancing the functioning capacity of each client’s brain.                                                                                                 -Taylor, 2010

Music Therapy improves the “quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illness.  Interventions can be designed to:  promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication and promote physical rehabilitation.  Research in music therapy supports it’s effectiveness in many areas such as:  overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.   -AMTA, 2007


 On this blog, we welcome you to learn more about Music Therapy and the amazing benefits that music has on the mind, body and spirit.  We invite you to follow us on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/desertsoundsofwellness) and to learn more about this amazing field on our website, Desert Sounds Of Wellness (www.desertsoundsofwellness.com).  We hope you will join us in the future as we share more about the benefits of musical study on both children and adults.  We invite you to follow us through this year as our founder once again steps into the public spotlight to continue our mission to educate on Music Therapy, or as our studio’s students entertain and delight those in our community.  We hope to bring you valuable information about music and in particular Music Therapy through this blog and look forward to seeing you here (and for those who are local…there…in the Phoenix area)!