As our children grow up, we, as parents, hope to do what’s best for them. Kids enjoy and need exercise, so we enroll them in sports. Children benefit from socializing, so we schedule play dates. One possible extracurricular that can sometimes go forgotten during the business of parenting, is music— or more specifically, learning to play a musical instrument.
During the development stage, it is important for children to be exposed to a variety of activities. It is through this exposure that they will grow from new experiences or even find what they are passionate about. Parents might be hesitant to start something new because of time constraints or the reasonable fear that after paying for costly lessons their child might not enjoy it.
While these hesitations are understandable, enrolling your child in music lessons might just be a worthy investment. Why? Because learning an instrument provides a myriad invaluable benefits to your child’s overall health and development!
Below are a few of the many examples:
1.Enhances academic skills.
It has been found that learning an instrument may improve reading comprehension and math skills.
Musicians are tasked with reading notes on a page, determining what they mean, analyzing how long to hold it, deciding which finger to use, etc. Analyzing the music quickly helps wire their brains for better reading comprehension in school literature/english classes.
Musicians are also little mathematicians. With music’s scales, rhythm, and beat, musicians practice division, create fractions, and recognize patterns. All skills that apply to other areas of mathematics.
2. Promotes discipline and patience.
There are few things that create more discipline and perseverance than learning/developing a skill such as music. Learning anything takes a lot of time and practice, which is why learning an instrument can be extremely beneficial for children. Children can sometimes have short attention spans, or prefer play over learning. By teaching them to sit down, and practice a skill every day or so, this can enhance their patience and ability to work.
3. Increases coordination.
Much like sports, playing music requires quite a bit of hand eye coordination. Musicians have to look at the music, understand it, and translate it in order to play something. Their hands/ fingers must know exactly where to go to find the correct note, —eventually without even looking at the instrument.
4.Creates exposure to culture and history.
Music is a reflection of the time in which it was created. When learning an instrument, students oftentimes are exposed to different types of songs ranging from classical, to folk and other genres. By playing and listening to songs of other eras, children gain a broader knowledge of culture and history.
5. Builds self-esteem.
When taking music lessons children become acclimated to hearing constructive criticism and even negative feedback. It is when a child applies that feedback and works to improve their skills that they will feel a sense of true achievement, thus building their self-esteem. This confidence they obtain in the music room might be something they will take into the real world, and help them take constructive criticism to drive them forward.
6. Increases concentration.
Playing music requires a great deal of concentration because there are several things a musician must simultaneously focus on. This includes, beat, tempo, pitch, scale, where their hand goes on the instrument, how loudly they must play, etc. Learning music trains their brains to think in this way, providing them with better focus when they need it.
7. Reduces shyness or “stage fright”.
After practicing for awhile, musicians eventually play for others. This exposure to being in the spotlight or playing in front of a crowd will help your child grow accustomed to having “all eyes on them”. Whether or not your child becomes a star, this skill is a vital one to have. They will be better composed when presenting in class, public speaking, or interviewing for jobs. It will teach them to stay calm under pressure.
8. Promotes creativity.
Music is an art form. Once students learn the notes, they might experiment a bit with the instrument. They will want to create different combinations of sounds, and generate their own tunes. This inclination to create something new, will spread to other aspects of their lives. As their minds open up to new possibilities, their ability to innovate will grow.
9.Promotes happiness in their lives and yours.
Learning to play an instrument can be a lot of work on both their part (practicing) and yours (driving them to lessons, nagging them to practice). However, at the end of the day, playing music brings joy to the lives of the musician and those listening! Your child will feel a sense of accomplishment when they perfect a song and take pride in playing it for others. You will know your hard work has paid off when their skills improve and they play music for you.