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Many parents have cringed when their children have come to them and told them they want to be a percussionist or a clarinet player for their school band. Your first thoughts are loud persistent noises at all hours of the day. But then you want to be supportive, and you want them to pursue the things in life that interest your children most.

But what you don't know is that perhaps you should actually encourage kids to be involved with music. There is increasing evidence that children who undergo formal music education test better on standardized tests and do better in subjects like math and science.

A psychology study at the University of California Irvine found that music improves the spatial reasoning skills of children. They tested 19 preschool children who had been learning music for eight months and 15 preschool children who did not receive any music education training. They found that the first group's spatial reasoning skills were much better and that they were more inclined to do better on math and science standardized tests.

Another study found that listening to music can actually improve a child's study abilities. The researchers played a Mozart piano sonata for 10 minutes and gave them an IQ test. They then repeated IQ tests for the same group while they sat in silence, then while they did a serious of relaxation exercises. The group's overall IQ test results were highest when they were listening to Mozart.

Further, the College Entrance Examination Board reported that students who say they participate in music-related classes and events during school score 23 points higher on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Assessment Test and 19 points higher on the math portion of the test than those who reported no music education.

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to encourage your children to learn music, from the cost of an instrument and lessons to the time commitments required in both practicing and in band performances.