How Does Music Teach Discipline? 7 Ways Music Fosters Discipline and Benefits Musicians in Many Areas of Life

How Does Music Teach Discipline? 7 Ways Music Fosters Discipline and Benefits Musicians in Many Areas of Life

how does music teach children discipline

Memorizing a new piece of music. 

Creating (and sticking to) a practice schedule.

Performing at a yearly recital.

Making beautiful music involves plenty of hard work. 

But did you know that the skills a student learns when they take music lessons can help teach disciplines that transfer to other areas of life?

In this article, we’ll delve into ways to nurture discipline through music, how music instills discipline, and where to go for music lessons in Salem, Oregon.

how does music teach discipline

Table of Contents

How Does Playing an Instrument Teach Discipline? 7 Ways To Nurture Discipline Through Music

#1: By Learning Patience

Music lessons can help children develop patience as they learn to stick with it week after week.

While music is an endeavor that can have moments of immediate gratification, the truth is that it can often take time — weeks, months, or even years — and lots of practice to fully enjoy the fruits of their labor. 

For example, a child who is learning the violin may take weeks to learn the correct posture and how to properly finger a few notes. 

But practicing and striving for improvement drives home a valuable lesson — the things we want most can take time. 

#2: By Practicing Time Management

Practicing an instrument regularly — ideally every day — is necessary if you want to see progress. 

For children (or teens and adults) who already have lives filled with school, work, sports, and family activities, scheduling time to practice can be tricky. 

The ability to manage a regular time of practice will benefit a child in every area of life and throughout their development.

Playing an instrument teaches a child time management by requiring them to:

  • Plan ahead
  • Prioritize what’s important
  • Balance homework, sports, and other activities; and 
  • Dedicate a certain time in their day to practicing an instrument 
music and discipline

#3: By Growing in Dedication

Dedication is cultivated in a number of different ways when playing a musical instrument, and can look like: 

  • Going to a lesson when you don’t want to or don’t feel prepared.
  • Practicing during your scheduled time, even when you’re tired.
  • Reviewing all the assigned parts of a lesson.
  • Sticking to your practice time when your friends call with a better offer.

Improvement comes with a strong commitment to practicing and keeping the end goal in mind. 

#4: By Understanding the Definition of “Hard Work”

Often, a child may not really understand what ‘hard work’ is until they commit to a rigorous practice schedule. 

This includes not only the hard work of scheduling practice times and sticking to them but also doing the hard work during practice, like:

  • Running through their scales and other “boring” drills.
  • Hammering out trouble spots by playing them over and over.
  • Staging hydrated and eating healthy.
  • Practicing breath exercises.
  • Getting enough rest.
learning discipline through music

#5: By Setting Goals and Persevering

Learning to play a musical instrument is hard work. 

No musician in history, not even the most accomplished virtuoso, has ever been able to play what they dream of without setting goals — and sticking with them to see them through.

Maybe the student has a goal of: 

  • Learning a new technique
  • Mastering a piece of music; or
  • Preparing for an upcoming performance

Whatever the goal, music students who continue to practice will come away with an enhanced ability to stick with it and reach their musical goals. 

#6: By Gaining Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is the ability to maintain focus and motivation even when distractions arise. It’s a critical life skill that can be learned and perfected with practice, and musical training is a great way to develop this lifelong benefit. 

When children are young, they will likely need the oversight of their parents to make sure they practice. But eventually, every musician must be intrinsically motivated and disciplined if they want to accomplish their musical goals.

A student practices self-discipline as they learn to: 

  • Manage distractions
  • Concentrate
  • Sick with a regular practice schedule; and
  • Avoid temptations that might keep them from practicing

When taught self-discipline through playing a musical instrument, children may be well on their way to accomplishing anything they set their minds to.

#7: By Experiencing Pride and Gratification

Think of the pride that comes when you finally master that tough section of music or memorize an especially challenging piece. 

The feeling of gratification just can’t be beat, and you understand that all the hard work, patience, and discipline you’ve invested were worth it in the end. 

Learning a musical instrument is a surefire way to help a student experience pride in their accomplishments and enhance their self-esteem as they:

  • Are able to play increasingly well.
  • Discover new musical skills and interests.
  • Learn to express themselves musically.
  • Become friends with others who have similar musical goals.
  • Reach their musical goals and achievements.

If you’re interested in music lessons or lessons for yourself or your child, Northwest School of Music may have what you’re looking for. Contact us today to learn more!

music and discipline

How Does Music Teach Children Discipline?

Music Helps Children Master Complex Skills

When a child learns music, they learn so much more than notes and fingerings. Studies show that music helps children:

  • Understand patience as they see that good things take time and practice pays off.
  • Develop resilience as they overcome the repeated mini-failure of missing a note and successfully correcting themselves. 
  • Develop fine motor skills as they learn different fingerings. 
  • Improve their fine motor skills.
  • Build social and emotional awareness.

Music Allows Children To Learn in Systematic Ways

Learning to play a musical instrument stimulates a child’s brain cells and improves core functions such as memory and abstract reasoning skills, which are essential for learning math and science.

According to Paul T. Sowden, a professor of psychology at the University of Winchester in England, music lessons also encourage children to approach their work in a more systematic and disciplined way. 

Studies have also found that students who are involved in music generally score significantly higher on standardized testing and reading proficiency exams than students who have no musical background. 

Music Helps Children Learn Respect and Teamwork

Another way music lessons instruct children in discipline is by teaching them respect. 

As a child plays or sings along with a group of people, they learn to respect each other’s unique musical abilities. They may need to play softer to allow other musicians to shine, or play louder and step into the limelight with a solo.

If they are playing in an ensemble or orchestra, they also come to understand that it can take many parts working together to make a whole.

Music Teaches Discipline That Transfers to Other Areas of Life

As a child learns discipline through music, they’re also gaining a host of benefits that carry over to many other areas of their life​, including:

  • Academics
  • Social skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Concentration and visualization; and 
  • Leadership


Through music lessons, kids learn far more than just how to play the piano or violin. In fact, research has revealed that the actual playing of the musical instrument may not be the most important skill that is being developed.

Engaging in music lessons does wonderful things for the human brain.

A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg of the University of Toronto found that students who spent time in musical pursuits had higher IQ scores than children who didn’t take music lessons.

And it makes sense since through music, students learn patterns, fractions, and other elements that are building blocks for math and reading skills. 

Learning to play a musical instrument uses both the left and right sides of a child’s brain and has been shown to increase the size of the crossover link between the two. The right brain is known for creativity and spatial and conceptual reasoning. The left side of the brain operates the cognitive, mathematical, and concrete aspects and runs motor skills. 

By improving the connection between the right and left brains, the student may be able to function on both levels simultaneously.

Social Skills

A child’s social skills and confidence are still other factors that may improve over time through music lessons.

Making music with other students helps a child by:

  • Teaching them to work together as a part of a team.
  • Developing their sense of empathy toward others.
  • Enabling them to become more in tune with other people’s emotions.
  • Using “positive peer pressure” to encourage improvement.
  • Teaching them to wait their turn.
how does music teach children discipline


Children who take music lessons have higher mental acuity and are better able to solve problems and engage in complex thinking. 

A study known as the Mozart Effect, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, revealed that children who were exposed to music, including taking music lessons, had better spatial-temporal reasoning skills than children who were not. 

They were also more adept when it came to solving problems that required them to think about space and time.

Concentration and Visualization

While it’s obvious that both learning and performing music require concentration, there are other focus-related benefits that can come from taking music lessons. 

When a child is learning to play an instrument, their teacher often trains them to ‘hear’ a note in their mind and visualize the pitch they’re aiming for before they play it. 

Once they learn to utilize this technique, it helps them considerably when it comes to being in tune and playing the correct pitch.

This type of concentration and visualization training helps the student to focus on the desired outcome of many other nonmusical tasks in life to ensure they’re done successfully.


Time spent investing in musical training also strengthens a child’s leadership skills.

Learning music can help develop a student in the area of leadership by: 

  • Increasing their confidence.
  • Teaching them discipline as they faithfully practice week after week.
  • Encouraging the realization of both external and self-set goals.
  • Teaching them to navigate challenges. 
  • Requiring them to persevere.

How To Choose the Best Music Lessons for Learning Discipline — Northwest School of Music Can Help You Choose the Instrument or Music Lessons for Your Goals and Interests

Are you ready to help instill a greater level of discipline in your child as they learn to play a musical instrument?

Northwest School of Music can help! 

We offer an array of music lessons for learners of all ages, including voice and choir lessons as well as:

  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Ukulele
  • Violin
  • And more

The professional instructors at Northwest School of Music have been teaching music to students in the Salem area since 2006, providing quality musical education to both children and adults. 

Simply register online to get started today. 

music and discipline
how does music teach children discipline
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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA

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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ |​

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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ |​

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