Start Small, Dream Big: How to Be Happy - Do Music Lessons as a Child Contribute?

Is there a key to happiness? Can we follow a magic formula to obtain this elusive quality in life?

Probably not, but researchers at Keio University partnered with the Yamaha Music Foundation to look into one factor that may contribute — music-related learning as a child.

What did they discover? Let’s find out.

How to Study Happiness

There are two types of scientific research you can use to study happiness — subjective and objective. Subjective studies involve asking participants to answer questions about their own level of happiness. Obviously, this can be subject to quite a bit of variability.

Objective studies use specific factors to define happiness. This might sound more concrete, but choosing the right factors can be difficult. For example, does having a big house with a swimming pool always define happiness? Even things like counting how many friends you have can be difficult to pin down. Who counts as a friend as opposed to an acquaintance?

The Four Psychological Elements of Happiness

Researchers at Keio University uncovered four basic psychological elements of happiness. They are:

  • Self-realisation and growth (knowing yourself)
  • Connection and gratitude (being social and thankful)
  • A positive outlook (tendency to believe everything will be fine)
  • Identity and independence (being true to yourself)

From there, they developed a survey of statements that sought to categorise happiness based on these four elements. For example, “if I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing” or “there are people who value me highly.” Participants could then mark whether they agreed or disagreed and to what degree.

This survey was given to two groups of people, those who had music-related learning experiences as a child and those who did not.

What Did They Find?

Of the four psychological elements of happiness, they found a difference between the two groups primarily in one element “connection and gratitude.” Music-related learning may serve to help people become more socially adept, build deeper connections with those around them and help them to have an overall grateful outlook on life.

The overall scores of happiness (how happy are you on a scale of 1-10) also showed a higher average of happiness amongst the musical group.

It’s important to note that music-related learning may not be the one defining factor. Parents who choose music lessons for their kids may share other factors that affect their kids’ happiness. For example, they may be more affluent, play a musical instrument themselves, place a higher value on all types of education, etc.

Uncovering the Secret to Happiness

So can signing your child up for music lessons set them up for a life of happiness? At best, that’s a resounding yes! And at worst, it certainly can’t hurt.

Aside from happiness, music lessons have many positive impacts on children. Interested? Reach out to us to learn more about music lessons for your child today!