How Music Increases the IQ of Our Children and the Joy It Brings

6 March 2023

3.7 MINS

Ludwig van Beethoven said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”

Ronnie James Dio, a former member of Black Sabbath, said, “Music, rock & roll music especially, is such a generational thing. Each generation must have its own music. I had my own in my generation, you have yours, everyone I know has their own generation.”

When we as fathers accept Beethoven‘s and Dio’s advice, we can use music to build bridges between the generations and also use music to help our children excel in life.

The 4-minute Doodle Chaos video below of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony with 158 million views might put a smile on your children’s faces and even yours too.

In families, music can be a very powerful force for good. The reverse is also the case, but we are here to focus on the good.

Did you know that one of the best ways to increase your children’s IQ is to give them music lessons?

A study by Dr Glen Schellenberg on younger children “found that each additional month of music lessons was accompanied by an increase in IQ of one-sixth of a point, such that six years of lessons was associated with an increase in IQ of 7.5 points compared with the children who did not have the same amount of musical instruction”. (This goes for adults too.)

Dr Gwen Dewar says:

“Brain scanning technologies have permitted neuroscientists to test ideas about the link between music and intelligence.

And some of the results are clear — Musicians have distinctively different brains.

For instance, if you examine the brain of a keyboard player, you’ll find that the region of the brain that controls finger movements is enlarged (Pascual-Leone 2001).

Moreover, brain scans of 9- to 11-year-old children have revealed that those kids who play musical instruments have significantly more grey matter volume in both the sensorimotor cortex and the occipital lobes (Schlaug et al 2005).

In fact, musicians have significantly more grey matter in several brain regions (Schlaug et al 2005), and the effects of music lessons seem to increase with the intensity of training…

People with music training often outperform their non-musical peers on cognitive tasks (Schellenberg 2006).

For instance, a study of 4- to 6-year-olds found that musically-trained kids performed better on a test of working memory (Fujioka et al 2006).

Other research indicates that musicians perform significantly better on tests of:

  • Spatial-temporal skills

  • Math ability

  • Reading skills

  • Vocabulary

  • Verbal memory

  • Phonemic awareness”

The beauty of music is that not only can it increase your children’s intelligence, but it can bring joy to both the hearer, and healing for the soul. Billy Joel, with over 160 million records sold worldwide, said, “I think music in itself is healing… it’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

Albert Einstein once said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get my most joy in life out of music.”

As you have probably already guessed, I am pretty biased in writing this article as I am a musician, but I am astounded at the calibre of the people who agree with me.

My father was a first violinist in an orchestra and brought me up listening to the classics. Although Eric Clapton and bands such as ‘Black Sabbath’, ‘Beach Boys’ and ‘Deep Purple’ broke that routine, I still retained a love for the classics and developed a love for almost all forms of good musical expression.

My Dad said he was going to organise music lessons for me, but he never quite got around to it, so I started to teach myself guitar when I was fourteen. This paid off in adult life and I went on to produce or play on a dozen albums, including seven of my own.

My wife and I decided to give our children the opportunity I never enjoyed, to learn a musical instrument from a young age, and we are so glad we did. At the time we were unaware of the beneficial effects of music lessons on their academic achievement.

Our main goal as parents was to encourage learning an instrument more for the ‘joy of life’ that Einstein spoke about. We were not disappointed.

The joy and the family passion for music has metamorphised in several different ways. We toured as a family playing music in Australia and around the world between 1990 and 2004.  Several years ago, our four sons formed their own band (Carry On) and released their first album (having played in many other bands as well).

In early 2022, our only daughter, under the stage name Langside, released her own debut album called, If It’s All the Same to You.

Together as a family, we have attended numerous musical concerts like the 50th Anniversary Tour of the Beach Boys, the Police reunion tour, avant-garde jazz/rock/fusion artists and many others besides. Such musical family occasions bring delight to the soul.

Your children learning music is a joy as is playing music yourself. Furthermore, listening to music together with your family can be a shared experience of such pure joy that words cannot describe.

 Beethoven was right to say, “Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”


So fall in love with music and help your children — not just to love music, but to play it — watch them excel and then enjoy it with them together as they get older.

As Ted Turner said, “Music has great power for bringing people together”.

Yours for the joy of music,
Warwick Marsh


First published at Dads4Kids. Photos: Karolina Grabowska, Alena Darmel/Pexels


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  1. Kim Beazley 6 March 2023 at 10:42 am - Reply

    “My father was a first violinist in an orchestra and brought me up listening to the classics. Although Eric Clapton and bands such as ‘Black Sabbath’, ‘Beach Boys’ and ‘Deep Purple’ broke that routine, I still retained a love for the classics and developed a love for almost all forms of good musical expression.”

    Although I didn’t have music in my childhood, my mother developed a love of Classical Music when I was a teenager, and I was smitten too, at the same time as I discovered Eric Clapton et al. So our musical development and passion have truly followed parallel lines, Warwick.

  2. Kaylene Emery 6 March 2023 at 11:39 am - Reply

    My first conscious experience of God was visual and visceral . My second conscious experience was many years later when I listened for the first time to Ravel’s
    Bolero. My way of saying that I agree with you Warwick. I could say so much more but I won’t.

  3. Ian Moncrieff. 6 March 2023 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Good comment which made joyous reading for me. I tried to learn guitar but failed miserably (and I think my family was glad also when I hung up my guitar!). I did enjoy the 1812 overture as a non-Christian, and as good as it was/is, I now prefer Handel’s Messiah much more.
    PS – Some early Beatles songs were good also.

    • Kim Beazley 7 March 2023 at 10:41 am - Reply

      “I now prefer Handel’s Messiah much more.”

      Great to hear, Ian! Hope you’re keeping up with, and hopefully being inspired by my (too occasional) series on “Messiah”. Hope to have the next one ready before Easter for you (and, of course, everyone else following the series).

  4. Leonie Robson 7 March 2023 at 1:20 am - Reply

    As a child I didn’t do a lot outside the home. I learned to sing playing my dad’s wind up gramophone with the old 78 records of Mario Lanza, and a host of titles like Mule Train and Red River Valley. That old phonograph was my best friend.
    Although I wanted to play the piano I didn’t get a chance. However God in His goodness gave me Ivan ❤️ and after listening to and living with him, I’m content to be well entertained!
    Two of our three sons are really talented musicians, and the other has a really great voice…though he uses it mostly to call the children or the dogs on their 2 acre parcel of land…lol.

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