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5 Life Skills Children Learn From Piano Lessons
Five Important Life Skills
When I was seven years old, my grandparents offered to take me to the home of a local piano teacher for lessons. While I may not have been fond of the hours spent practicing piano after school each day, or the weekly Wednesday drive across town to my piano teacher's home, I attribute a lot of my life skills to the lessons I learned at a young age.
Learning how to play a musical instrument is rewarding for many reasons. These five life skills are proven to help your child maintain a guided life track toward success.
1. Good Habits.
Like brushing teeth and picking up a bedroom are good habits for a young child to acquire early on in life, teaching a child to play a musical instrument creates an atmosphere of discipline.
Discipline has several meanings. In this context, the word discipline means a branch of knowledge.
Playing the piano or any other musical instrument requires the following:
- Time Management
By fostering these attributes, a child will gain personal independence which will result in forming good habits.
As toddlers, parents tell children no in order to keep a child safe around dangerous things like a hot stove or electrical wires. At some point, the toddler learns not to touch things that are dangerous.
Confidence is taught or achieved by doing something repeatedly.
As adults, we seek training in fields in which we'd like to work. A hair stylist seeks out beauty school. A lawyer seeks out law school. But in each of these fields, there is specific training required in order to do that job. Once trained and educated in a particular field, a person can become successful in their job.
Likewise, confidence is instilled in children by giving them opportunity to master something they can achieve on their appropriate level.
Mistakes and disappointment are always part of the process, but the end result is confidence once success is gained.
Confidence lasts throughout our lives. A child that achieves confidence will become successful in their desire to accomplish. It doesn't mean that they will go on and become a rocket scientist or president of a country. But it's a life skill that's acquired which will help a child master success in anything they do in the future.
3. Public Speaking.
Public speaking is an area where even adults have issues of fear, stress, and anxiety.
As an adult, have you ever walked in to a crowded room and had to give a presentation or run a meeting? What did you feel like at the point of looking at all of the people waiting for you to present something to them? You may have noticed your heart racing, you might have started sweating, your hands might start to shake, and you could possibly feel sick.
Public speaking is something that isn't as easy as it looks, especially for someone attempting it for the first time.
My first piano solo was before I was 10 years old. I played Für Elise by Ludwig Van Beethoven, my grandmother's favorite piece, for the entire gymnasium that had assembled to hear me play. I felt afraid yet excited. I was filled with anticipation. When I stepped out in front of the few hundred students smiling at me, I sat down and played with confidence because I had practiced that song until I memorized it by heart.
As I got older, I had more opportunities to play in front of large crowds. I never made it to Carnegie Hall, but because of my experiences, I grew in to an adult who has never had trouble speaking in front of large crowds.
In fact, I do better in front of large crowds than I do in a small gathering of people.
Learning how to play an instrument provides encouragement and teaches leadership so that we are able to face our fears and a public crowd.
Some people are born with it. There are those that make headline news with their unbelievably talented singing voices or outrageous gift of brilliance.
For the rest of us, talent takes time to develop.
The definition of talent is a special ability that allows someone to do something well. The old saying practice makes perfect may not always be the case. I took lessons for many years, played in jazz band as well as a church orchestra, and I am far from perfect. But offering a child the opportunity to master something at their own pace when in time creates talent, is argument enough.
Children that are talented are also offered opportunities such as joining school bands, playing instruments in school concerts, playing instruments at church, and other various activities that otherwise would not be available.
5. Team Player.
Many musicians play in bands or with groups of other individuals. There are also solo musicians.
But when learning how to play a musical instrument, children are invited to play in something called a duet. This is when two children play one song together. My piano teacher used to coordinate mini recitals at a nursing homes which provided an opportunity for her students to serve the needs of others in a caring environment.
Children learn how to play together. This is an important life lesson that carries through to adulthood because most people work in jobs which require us to get along with others.
Learning how to be a team player opens up further opportunity to join right in to a boys or girls club, team sports, and other activities which children may otherwise feel afraid or shy around.
What's holding you back from offering your child piano lessons?
Children learn what they are taught.
When a child is enrolled in piano lessons, it's an opportunity for individualized instruction, one-on-one attention, and discipline which is required to learn good habits, confidence, public speaking, acquire talent, and be a team player.
All of these character attributes start at home.
Did you know?
Learning how to play the piano involves studying and teaching of motor, intellectual, problem-solving, and artistic skills?
Piano lesson strategies.
A lot has changed since I was a child taking my first lesson. But one thing has remained the same. Good study habits are important for the constant structure and learning environment required for your child to achieve success.
Here are a few tips on how to get your child started:
- Have a journal notebook available for your child. Teach your child to record a daily log including date, time practiced, name of song (book and page), and what areas your child feels they need more instruction.
- At each lesson, have your child bring the journal to the teacher and review the information. Also record in the journal the homework given by the teacher.
- Depending on the teacher, they may even reward the child's journaling efforts with a sticker or A+ on the last entry.
- Keep music books clean. The music books are expensive and will be around until your child masters each lesson. Avoid bringing the books around food or other mess to help preserve the pages.
- Commit to a set time every day for your child to practice. This also means the television, radio, computer, or any other distraction must be turned off. Treat this time as an investment in to your child's life. What could be more important! Don't frustrate your child by watching soap opera re-runs next to the piano when the child is trying to practice and master a lesson.
- Be a part of your child's learning. Encourage your child, praise your child, and attend your child's lessons with enthusiasm. Even when everything else in your life feels stressful, use this time to unwind from a busy day and devote yourself to your child's attention.
- Help your child focus by using a reminder system about practice time and the weekly lesson. Keep a calendar system in the kitchen or other room where your child will see the reminder in the forefront of your home.
- Don't push your child. If your child dislikes lessons to the point of frustration, tears, and anxiety, piano or other musical instruments may not be right for your child. The worst thing to do is force lessons on a child who wants nothing to do with it.
- Don't expect your child to devote their adult life in a career around the piano. Many people make the mistake of setting expectations for their children when the child may just enjoy playing the piano as a hobby. Think of the benefits your child will gain from lessons though.
- Create a family calendar around your child's lessons and practice so that other events don't interfere.
Lessons that teach us value for life.
My piano teacher was talented in many ways. She wrote her own book before passing away.
I have such fond memories of growing up playing piano with her in her living room, accompanying her to the nursing home where she worked, and playing duets with her for the residents.
Her favorite movie was The Sound of Music; from which her favorite song was My Favorite Things.
I share memories of her treating my grandmother to delicious peanut butter cookies while I wrote down my next lesson in my little journal book.
An excerpt from her book, she wrote,
"If you do not tell your story, it will never be told."