Playing a Musical Instrument What it Can Do For Your Child
My Sons and Their Instruments
Playing a musical instrument has been found to be good for your child on many levels. There is a multitude of benefits when you play a musical instrument. In my opinion the number 1 benefit of playing a musical instrument for your child or anyone for that matter is that it reduces stress. When you think about what a child in this day and age goes through just learning, playing a musical instrument is calming. In my experience of what kids go through today is overwhelming. The amount of information that a child has to learn today is very great. I look at my own kids and realize that what took me a week to learn 30 years ago when I was in school, our kids today are learning in one day. That's 30 years of new information they have to learn in the same space of time.
They have not added more days to the school calendar. They have just added more information. Music in and of itself is calming and reduces stress in all ages. Playing a musical instrument has been found to reduce stress and our kids today have plenty of stress.
Music and Stress
A study published in February of 2005 in the Medical Science Monitor showed that playing a musical instrument can reverse stress. The studies principal investigator Dr. Barry Bittman of the Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville PA, states " these finding shed light on the value of active music participation". The study suggests that active participation in music making provide a calming effect more powerful than other forms of relaxation such as reading or watching TV. The act of involvement in producing music is calming and satisfying. George Stefano PhD, Director, Neuroscience Research Institute, State University of New York and Vice Chair , Board of Directors, Research Foundation State University of New York states, " From a stress research perspective, this study introduces a dynamic genomic framework for more fully understanding the complex biological impact and potential health benefits of playing a musical instrument". He further states, " The study adds considerable insight into earlier studies demonstrating positive health outcomes that come from listening to music". In my opinion this is great news. Anything positive that helps kids reduce their stress in today's world is a good thing. I am glad my kids wanted to play musical instruments. You would do well to encourage your child to play a musical instrument to ensure a healthy happy stress free child.
The Momence Marching Band
Other Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument
There are other benefits of playing a musical instrument. Many studies have been done on the effects of music and playing music on the brain. Studies have shown that kids who play musical instruments do better in other academic subjects in school. Researchers say music and playing music keeps the brain sharp and alert.
Playing a musical instrument also teaches discipline. Practice makes perfect. Learning to play a musical instrument takes lots of practice and teaches your child to not give up if this is what they truly want to do.
Playing a musical instrument also teaches your child the benefits of teamwork. All the kids playing a song and getting it to sound great is a wonderful thing. Especially when they give a concert and the crowd applauds them. I have had my kids in music since they were in middle school. Every year at concert time you could hear the improvements the kids made as they became more proficient at their particular instrument. We live in a small community so when the school gives a concert all the different grades play their songs during the same concert. The kids here start in 5th grade and so each grade level gives their own set of songs during the concert all the way up to the high school level. So the younger kids see how much better each level or grade gets as they get more experience. It's a great way to do it.
The high school band also gives smaller concerts strictly to the younger grades who have not reached the age where they may also participate, to encourage them to play when they have reached the right age within our school district. And because this is a small community many of the younger kids know some of the kids in the high school band or have older brothers and sister in the high school band.
Playing a musical instrument is fun. It gives a child a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. And the encouragement from parents and friends make the child feel good about themselves. This is a good thing. Another great thing about our small community is an annual Gladiolus Festival we have every year. We have several parades that the school band marches in. This festival is always in August and participation of the band members to march is voluntary. The great thing about this is that all the kids in the school district from every grade level can march. What this means is that the younger kids get a chance to march and play with the older kids. They practice for 10 days or so before the festival starts, learning the song they are going to play and learning how to march. The older kids help the younger kids and I think this teaches the older kids tolerance towards the younger kids. It's a great experience for all the kids and us parents love to see our kids out there in our hometown parades. This festival has been going on in our town for over 75 years and is well known in the Chicago area. We have award winning high school bands from all over the Chicago area and even this past summer had a high school band from Canada march. Our marching band is always the first band to march because it's our parade, the march right behind the American flag, and the crowd goes nuts each and every time they march past.
So all in all playing a musical instrument can be very beneficial to your child. Encourage them to participate but don't insist. Help make it your child's choice to play music.