In an age where electronics are a staple of every classroom and household, learning to play a musical instrument can help develop discipline, patience, passion and joy.
Parents often struggle to determine which extracurricular activities best suit their children’s needs. It seems as though every year there are more options to choose from. Perhaps the most popular extracurricular is youth sports—sports teach teamwork, discipline, and they ensure kids get the proper amount of physical exercise. However, it is also important to remember the benefits learning music affords to kids too. In an age where electronics are a staple of every classroom and household, learning to play a musical instrument has many benefits.
Finger Strength and Dexterity
Learning a musical instrument requires a child to develop dexterity in their fingers. It takes coordination and practice to build the finger strength needed to play a musical instrument. We live in an electronic age where tablets are a staple of every classroom and household. Unfortunately, touchscreens are beginning to adversely affect children’s finger strength and dexterity. Many young people lack the strength and coordination they need to hold a pen or pencil, tools or other objects correctly because they haven’t developed finger strength the same way the pre-iPad generations have. Learning music is a fun way to achieve this.
Learning music engages the brain in ways that few, if any, other activities can. Learning music at a young age stimulates the brain in many areas, and there is more and more evidence surfacing that musical minds function better in the classroom than their non-musical counterparts. For example, studies have shown that learning music at a young age helps to develop the brain’s language and reasoning areas. Furthermore, children who study music and the arts on average score better on standardized tests like the SAT, and also achieve better grades in high school. Starting young sets your child up for success in areas of life that go well beyond a concert hall.
Learning an instrument is a challenging endeavor. It requires practice and discipline just like playing sports does. Kids who learn music at a young age develop healthy learning habits that they can carry throughout their lives. The discipline required to learn an instrument is the same discipline required to study for a big test or job interview.
Learning Music is a Shared Commitment
Learning music at a young age is a commitment shared between a child and their parents. Students need to be encouraged to practice their instrument, and parents should see to it that their kids are achieving the goals set by their instructor. Regardless of whether or not your child is self-motivated or particularly interested, the long-term benefits of sticking with it far outweigh the cost of giving up.
Of course, it’s important to find a music teacher that both you and your child like, and who keeps learning music FUN. Listen to your child—if they are not enjoying themselves, they won’t want to stick with it. Help them find a music teacher that lets them shine.
Finally, music lessons can be expensive. Students generally need their own instrument on top of private instruction. In-home music lessons are becoming more and more popular since they add a convenience factor for parents, but they tend to be pricier than traditional lessons in a studio. Make some room in your budget for music lessons—they are a worthwhile investment in your child’s growth and development.
GEORGE RAMSAY, www.charlotteobserver.com, www.msidallas.com