Topic of the month – The Joy of Music
Posted by: Sue Atkins
The joy of music
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Music has always played a large part in my life as my Mum played the fiddle in her Irish family’s Ceili band so my early memories are of parties, laughter, singing and people playing live instruments and having fun together.
I learnt to play the piano and the guitar myself as a child but I always enjoyed just messing about by myself for hours trying to work out the latest hits by playing them by ear and singing along. It was a great creative outlet and hobby. I even cut a record recently in a studio to vent my dream of being the next Madonna!! Now I just sing loudly in my car along to the radio and sing at family get togethers. It was never about being the next “Britain’s Got Talent” it was about enjoyment.
I personally believe that learning to play a musical instrument offers kids a lot of benefits as music is a means of self-expression and a way to develop better coordination and fine motor skills. It will also give your child a positive outlook on life and a deeper appreciation of the arts and it teaches them the importance of focus, dedication and practice. It helps them to set goals and forces them to pursue excellence.
Here are my 6 reasons for encouraging your children to get involved in music:
- Playing A Musical Instrument Makes You Brighter – many studies have been conducted on the effects of music to the brain. Scientists say that children who are exposed to music, or those who play an instrument, do better in school than those who don’t. Recent research suggests that exposure to music may benefit a child’s reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of their brains. Adults too can benefit from learning to play an instrument because it helps the mind to be alert and active which helps to sharpen the memory which is good for people of any age.
2. It Teaches Discipline – learning to play an instrument is like learning to speak another language as it requires both the left and right parts of the brain to work together but one of the key qualities musicians possess that is valuable for children is discipline.
Music offers children the challenge of commitment and tenacity as they have to practice to improve which teaches them a great life skill in itself. Kids have to be disciplined in order to master playing their instrument and they have to set time each day to practice, practice and practice some more.
But it also teaches them about moving forward and seeing improvements through endeavour. Nothing succeeds like success and the joy of having cracked something by yourself. Playing an instrument can really improve your child’s self esteem as well as their concentration.
3. Playing A Musical Instrument Relieves Stress – we live in a fast paced, hectic world and listening to or playing music offers children an opportunity to relax. Playing an instrument can do that and more, especially if you’re the one playing. Music is one of life’s simple joys; it helps calm the mind.
4. Sense of Achievement – if your child is a beginner learning to play their first piece can be really frustrating. So parental encouragement and genuine praise plays a very real part in their progress at the beginning but once they’ve mastered it, the personal satisfaction they’ll feel is priceless. It will really motivate them to keep going if they have a genuine interest in their instrument, and are not just learning to please you, as they are a step closer to achieving their goal and that is certainly something to be proud of.
5. Playing A Musical Instrument is Fun – of course playing a musical instrument can be hard work at times but there is no denying playing an instrument is also great fun. Opportunities will arise for your kids to share their newly learned skills with you, your family and your friends. And like Matt Emery who wrote the music for my “Parenting Made Easy” Toolkits it can turn into a dream job and full time profession – check out Matt on http://www.myspace.com/mattemerymusic
6. Playing A Musical Instrument is a sociable activity – in these times of Game Boy, PlayStation and other rather isolating computer activities music provides an alternative to that by being a social activity that engages children with others and helps them develop their social skills and self confidence by playing in small or large groups to a variety of audiences.
So for me music is a natural and enjoyable activity and you don’t have to turn your child into the next Leona Lewis to help them to enjoy and reap the benefits of learning to play an instrument. But be prepared for tantrums and tears and as well as ear muffs if they decide to be the next Keith Moon!!