One of my little preschoolers came to school yesterday with an extra sparkle in her little eyes! She walked in carrying a violin case, and as our Student of the Week, she had decided to play a piece of music for our class. And let me tell you, it was the high point of our morning together. As she carefully removed her instrument from it's case, and then with the utmost of concentration performed her song, I was reminded of the countless hours of music lessons and performances that my own children were subjected to as they grew up. And although none of them are continuing on with their music studies, I still would admit that requiring them to study music, until high school was a decision that my husband and I will never regret. And here is why:
1. Studying music teaches discipline. Children need to practice, and although they don't usually want to, they quickly understand that they won't improve without practice.
2. Music has relaxing qualities. And children in our fast paced world need to find ways to unplug and unwind. By studying music, children are exposed to different kinds of music and the benefits music can bring.
3. Learning an instrument can build self confidence. How do you know whether or not your child has musical talent unless you allow him/her to pursue music in some form? All children have gifts and music may be where your child's talent lies. In addition, learning to play an instrument brings a lot of positive feedback when your child performs for family and friends or in recitals or concerts.
4. Music allows for creativity. Children need creative outlets that allow them to experiment and test ideas. Real experiences of making music and performing music are so much more valuable to young minds than watching movies or playing video games.
5. Studying music has been linked to better performance/understanding of math concepts. It certainly cannot hurt to require your children to be using their brain power a little more each week.
6. Exposing your children to music will allow for you to connect with them about something. Children who study a musical instrument or take voice lessons are exposed to a wide variety of different types of music. There tastes will develop from there and will become a source of endless discussion as you to compare notes on musical tastes.
My high school daughter loves to listen to George Winston piano music when she studies, my college age son has been featured on his college radio station-and loves to discover new, independent artists and their music. Another one of my daughters has introduced all to her love of country music, and finally my eldest daughter loves to attend gospel mass at a church in Washington D.C. All of these examples illustrate to me that we were on to something when we were insisting that they practice their instruments.