Just about everyone loves listening to music, and if you ask most people, they will say they wish they could play an instrument. The word “wish” is key, people dream about playing music but never learn to do it for real. That’s a shame because learning an instrument can help you in many ways, not all of them obviously related to music.
If your child is thinking of learning an instrument, then you should tell them yes. It’s a real investment that can result in big dividends down the road. In this article, we will look at some of the ways that music can transform your child’s life for the better.
IT STIMULATES THEIR BRAIN
Learning to play an instrument is like studying in other subjects, it develops your brain. Studies have shown that the areas of the brain related to reading, math, and memory light up when people are playing their instruments. The brain is like a muscle, the more they use it the stronger it will be. Learning music isn’t easy, but that’s exactly what makes it so powerful. A good practice session is like a day at the gym for your child’s brain. If your child can learn things like how to play their instrument, how to read music, and how to remember a full piece of music they’ll also be able to carry elements of those skills into other areas of their life. If your child sees the patterns in a piece of music they’ll be better prepared to recognize the patterns in their math textbook.
IT ENCOURAGES SOCIALIZATION
It can be very difficult for kids to make friends these days. Making friends has always been difficult for some, but now that it’s easy to disappear into the world of the internet more and more children are succumbing to anti-social tendencies. Don’t let this happen to your child, help them find a place where they fit in.
Your child will be able to perform some beautiful songs on their own, but their potential will only be fully unleashed when they team up with others. Fortunately, most schools have plenty of opportunities for musically inclined students. There’s orchestra, marching band, and the garage bands that the kids start up themselves. Few things bring people together like making music; it’s a kind of collaboration that’s in our very DNA.
IT SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF PATIENCE
Modern society has blessed us with many things, but all of these advances come at a cost. One of the most destructive things about the information age is its focus on “instant gratification.” For example, it used to be that people had to drive to the library and search through books to find the information they needed. Now it’s available on our phones with the push of a button. Easy access to information is great, but at a certain point, succeeding depends on patience. Fortunately, learning a musical instrument also means learning patience.
Unless your child is a one-in-a-million child prodigy, they will not make beautiful music the first time they touch their instrument. Most kids underestimate how hard it is to learn an instrument. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to give up just weeks after starting classes. But if they have patience and put in the work they will succeed and learn that true accomplishment requires a real effort. If they learn this lesson while learning a musical instrument, they won’t learn it the hard way when they face the difficulties of college or their first job.
IT IS A PRODUCTIVE PASTIME
They say that idle hands are the devil’s playground and nowhere is this truer than when it comes to teenagers. Growing up is difficult, it can be hard to find a place where you belong. This is what leads countless children every year to gangs and criminality. Even good kids will act out to try and fit in with the crowd. If you can help to find them a crowd that is engaged in positive behavior, then you will save yourself from a lot of headaches later on.
It also helps that making music is a funny hobby that is actually productive. It’s so easy for kids to waste some of the best years of their lives lying around and playing with their phones. Kids need some time to relax, but if they do nothing with their free time, they will look back with regret. Playing an instrument allows them to master a skill they’ll be proud of for the rest of their lives.
IT TEACHES KIDS HOW TO LEARN
There is one skill that consistently separates those who succeed from those who fail. That skill is learning. And yet few of us even think of learning as a skill that can be trained; we treat it like breathing or eating, it’s just something you do naturally in the right environment. This is a destructive belief because it leads people to fall short of their potential. Your child can learn how to learn and studying music teaches them how.
Many people have trouble understanding this concept because they think of learning in the context of other classes. Think of math class; the teacher gives a lecture, hands out problems, the problems get solved and handed back. Many kids just see the hoops they have to jump through and don’t grasp how their brain is developing. It doesn’t help that they aren’t taught to be critical about how they are approaching their study sessions. With music you get instant feedback, you can hear whether you’re succeeding or failing. Your child won’t sound great at first, but they will get better if they put in the energy and attention required. As your child moves from struggling with the basic scales to performing their first songs they will find out that they are capable of doing what once seemed impossible. At some point, just about every successful person grasped this fact.