Benefits of Music Lessons
Entertaining video on how playing an instrument benefits the brain.
More info on the long-term benefits of studying music as a child
There are links between studying music and benefits in many, many areas. However, contrary to some people's beliefs, there is no hard evidence that classical music makes us "smarter" (whatever that means). The Mozart Effect, which almost everyone has heard about, was misinterpretation by the media of printed research.
I think people should study music because:
Music is part of being human.
It allows us to express and enjoy ourselves in a culture where there is a lot of emphasis on our productivity, evaluations, etc.
Studying an instrument is a unique experience
Few other experiences in life are so long-term, must be practiced each day, and are never completely perfected. Playing the violin or viola is a life-long process and a life-long pleasure.
Instrument study engages the entire brain.
I think playing music expands our abilities like no other action. Playing in an orchestra, for example, requires an incredible number of focuses: watching the conductor, reading the music, playing with the section, listening to yourself for intonation, playing the right articulations and bow strokes, playing the right rhythm, and listening to the rest of the orchestra.