Have you ever asked a parent what they would like for their children?
When we ask questions like these, generally the answers are something like; I want them to be healthy…. to be happy… to be successful…to have fun!
As a parent myself, I believe that music education for my child is right up there in priority amongst literacy, numeracy, and health/fitness.
But why music I hear you ask? Isn’t it just another extracurricular activity to add into the day?
Throughout my own education and experience with teaching, I’ve seen that it’s much more than that and I know that many other music teachers, educators and other professionals share this view.
Here are three strong educational reasons why music should be a must in every child’s life:
1. Confidence and Self Esteem
It is well known that music increases cognitive and language abilities, which in turn increases a child’s confidence and self esteem. The very nature of music means that students will learn to play in front of others and with others in a group, so this too increases that confidence and self esteem: but the added bonus is that it’s fun! In a music environment, often even the quieter kids can’t wait to show off what they can do and what they have learned – it’s much harder to get that same result when children are practicing via speaking.
2. Co-ordination and Reflexes
When you learn to play a musical instrument, there are so many things going on at the same time. Not only are you thinking about what to play on a page of music, you’re thinking about how to get the sound, where your fingers are, how to breathe, you’re reading the music, you could be using your memory, you’re listening to what’s going on around you so you don’t play out of time and this all happens simultaneously!
It’s a bit like learning to drive a car- you’ve got so much to think of at the same time, but after a while it becomes natural, it becomes a part of life. When your playing music, your brain is constantly communicating with your fingers, with itself and it builds a strong wiring system or a strong foundation, ready to build upon with other activities- Through constantly practicing music the brain is also constantly communicating to the rest of our body- our fingers and breathing become more synchronized- all without us even realizing it.
3. Organizational Skills and Discipline
The very nature of music means that it is practiced regularly – whether it’s once a week or once a day – the system of doing it is done over and over again in a regular pattern. therefore it creates an organizational skill or a habit. Isn’t regular routine a great habit for every parent to want their children to get into?
Like learning to bake a cake, music has a sequential recipe. Children learn the system to any musical instrument, by playing it in a lesson or in practice. Regularity and having to do it consistently over a period of time will really help build children’s organizational skills and discipline.
Of course a pretty important spin-off is many students who do music also enjoy and do very well academically and it’s been shown that schools who have music programs also have better attendance rates.