The benefits of playing a musical instrument are extensive and well documented so I wont go into great detail here. Rather, what I would like to focus on are the immediate, and important, benefits that a child ( and a parent) will see within months.
Many of you have probably heard that music is like math. That seems like such a tough concept to grasp...how can music be math? Well, written music is on a staff which is divided into small sections called measures. Within each measure is a pre-designated number of beats. For example, at the beginning of the music you will see something like this 4/4. The first number tells the player that each measure gets four beats and the bottom number tell him that the quarter note is worth one beat. So, with that information we now know that one quarter equals one beat, one half note equals two beats, etc. As the child learns this information he or she will be simultaneously reading the note name, the note value and coordinating the right fingering or slide position, or stick motion to produce the proper note. As the music becomes more complex we start to get into fractions. A child will be presented with one quarter note equals two eight notes. Put in mathematical terms it would be written as: 1/4=2/8! So, its true, kids are learning math and music and they wont even realize it.
Playing a musical instrument also teaches us to work together to accomplish a goal. I suppose that in a sense this skill is also taught in sports except you won't get a concussion playing the oboe. As students begin to develop their counting, reading and playing skills they are also learning to be patient if someone or a group of others is having some problems with their part. They learn patience and respect for others as they see success in themselves and success in their band mates.
Finally, music is just fun. It can be hard work at times and every student will see ups and downs as they progress but at the end of the day it is a fun skill that will last an entire lifetime.