There are many things that can influence a child’s development.
But, for teacher Eric Smeaton, music is at the top of the list.
For many years, Mr. Smeaton has both taught and performed music, seeing first-hand the positive impact it can have in more ways than one.
Here are his top six.
1. PERFORMING MUSIC REQUIRES DISCIPLINE
It is simply not possible to achieve any relative success in music without applying oneself with focus and at least some (if not much) dedication and desire. With even minimal success, self-esteem is inflated. Self-esteem, coupled with discipline are two of – maybe the two – most important indicators of potential success in life; success being determined by the individual. Whether life’s goal is to be charitable, wealthy, find love, enjoy family, travel the world, etc., these two characteristics will certainly be common amongst those who feel “lucky in life.”
2. LISTENING TO MUSIC RELEASES ENDORPHINS (AKA HAPPY CHEMICALS)
Since the beginning of time, humans have enjoyed song, created song, and communicated through song. The invention of radio, phonographs, iPods, etc., has created a world market for entertainment, supported by sales evidence that, we, as people, continue to prioritize music as a pleasure. Happy chemicals = happy people; and happy is good.
3. WHAT YOU’RE NOT DOING
When you are practicing guitar, banging on drums, plugged into a music player or joining the band, you are not in front of a screen watching pixels and staring at damaging light emissions. Nor are you out on an unsupervised street corner. You are not playing video games, and you are not (hopefully) sad because you have nothing to do.
4. LEARNING LANGUAGES/DECODING
When humans decode, their brain becomes “oiled.” Synapses – signal highways from the brain to the body – are created. Strengthening those synapses and creating new ones make you “smarter,” meaning you are more likely to achieve your fullest potential.
Learning a language – which music is – has many academic “side effects” such as improvements in other language learning such as math – another
language – because the brain becomes “hardwired” to (a) expect decoding and therefore embrace it, and (b) approach new learning with less ‘fear’ and more ‘I can do this because I have done this before.’
5. ENJOYING MEMBERSHIP/IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians BELONG. Musicians are a “Club.” Musicians are universally accepted and enjoy each other.
Mental health is very serious, and we are only now beginning to show needed empathy in society for the many varieties of mental struggles people have. Membership/being understood are key to everyone’s health. Bands, ensembles, music clubs etc., almost always have many types of people all working together as a team. Athlete or science nut, flawless skin or piercings, suit and tie or pink, spiked hair spiked hair, who cares?
WE’RE THE BAND.
6. ACCEPTING FAILURE
Musicians “fail” all the time. Only a prodigy has success right away and even they rarely achieve such pleasure consistently. Expecting to need to take time to get better is extremely healthy. One of the most documented medical reasons for people dropping out of post-secondary education is “failing” for the first time. Type A people are at risk of having very serious adverse reactions to not doing well. Musicians understand and employ strategies of how to get better when unsuccessful. They learn through experience to expect this and these strategies become a pattern of behavior that often transfer positively to other situations in life as well.