I guess this is the first time I’ve ever felt like I’m trying to convince a child to eat his broccoli because he might end up liking it, and that it is good for them. But music is not nearly as bad as broccoli!
Hey I have a bias. I love music, and have always had a passion for music education. I’ve experienced the benefits of learning multiple instruments.
I know what its like to perform, and compose, and collaborate with other musicians. My overall communication skills, and public speaking abilities have been affected by music as well. I know what music can do, and I wish more people were able to experience it!
There are some obvious objections you might have. Here are some of the most common explanations for dropping music from a students education.
The student is not musically talented (or at least thought they weren’t).
The student is too busy with other activities.
The student hates practicing (or the parents grow weary of begging the child to practice)
The student doesn’t like their teacher. Via nafme.org
With most of these explanations, there is often a strong element of truth. It is easy to view music as getting in the way of other courses when you don’t value music education at the same level as other courses. I understand.
Not everyone should be a musician. But the goal of a music education in public schools is not to prepare someone to be a professional musician. Music education is about teaching a new way to learn and think. It changes the way our brains work in a very positive way.
Everyone can learn music. There is no talent barrier of entry. Sure, some kids can pick it up parts of music a bit quicker than others. But if this was the case in math class, would you be ok with your child dropping that as well?
Here are some ways to keep your child in music education. These are some of the biggest hurdles anyone needs to get over to start a lifelong passion for playing and learning music.
- Parents need to find music just as important as other subjects. The sad truth is that many non-music teachers and administrators do not find music equally as important as math or English language-arts, but parents need to. Besides, you wouldn’t let your child quit math, would you? Many kids would jump at that opportunity. Music is a core subject…period. The more parents treat it as such, the less students will quit.
- Students don’t know how to get better. Without the proper tools and practice habits to get better atanything, students will become frustrated and want to quit. It is the role of the music educator and the parents to give students ownership over their learning. Teachers must teach students why, how, where, and when to practice, and parents must obtain minimal knowledge about how students learn music in order to properly support them at home.
- Parents and students think they aren’t musically talented. Sure, there are some kids who pick up an instrument and sound decent immediately, but they will hit a wall later and have to work hard to overcome it. Most everyone else won’t sound that great at first. Playing a musical instrument is a craft that, if practiced correctly, is something that all children can find success in. As long as students know how to practice and that it needs to be done regularly, they will get better.
- Students discontinue playing over the summer. Statistics show that students who do not read over the summer find themselves extremely behind once school starts. The same goes for playing an instrument. A year of musical instruction can quickly go down the tubes over the summer vacation if students do not find small ways to play once in a while. Picking up an instrument for the first time after a long layoff can be so frustrating that a student will not want to continue into the next school year.
- The instrument is in disrepair. A worn down cork, poor working reed, or small dent can wreak havoc on a child’s playing ability. Sometimes the malfunction is so subtle that the student thinks they are doing something wrong, and frustration mounts. Students, parents and teachers need to be aware of the basics of instrument maintenance and be on top of repairs when needed.
- Teachers don’t create enough performing opportunities during the year. The best way to motivate students musically is through performance. Weeks or even months on end of practicing without performing for an audience gets old very quick, and student will definitely quit. Teachers should schedule performances every six weeks or so in order for students to stay engaged and practicing. Parents can help by creating small performance opportunities at home — a Friday night dinner concert or a planned performance for visiting family members are great ideas.
- There is not enough “fun”music to practice. It’s very important for parents to be aware of music that interests their child, because it exists in sheet music form for download or purchase. It’s important that all students play music that is aligned to their interests in addition to other pieces that are worked on in school.
Other activities are pulling at the child. Between art lessons, sports, karate, and other activities, parents grow weary of having “one more thing” to be on top of schedule-wise. Parents need to understand that the enduring social and psychological benefits of music are as enormous as those of sports — in the same and different ways. Budget time accordingly and children will have 10 minutes a day to practice an instrument, for sure. Via nafme.org
Music Education Drastically Boosts Academic Success
It has been proven by countless studies that playing an instrument does wonders for developing brains. We know that it giveschildrens minds the ability to think in ways that significantly improve literacy leading to better academic success in many other areas. This is called neurophysiological distinction, and the fastest way to develop it, is by learning an instrument. Via merriammusic.com
Scientists Discovered Something Amazing About Musicians Brains
The list of benefits from learning a musical instrument is constantly growing. A recent study conducted at the University of Texas showed that musicians may have far more well-developed long-term memories compared to non-musicians. Weve known that learning a musical instrument has a significant positive impact on short term memory, linguistic abilities, and spatiotemporal faculties, but this study has found the first strong evidence in regards to long-term memory. Via merriammusic.com