Learning to play an instrument or singing in a chorus can be significantly important in your children’s lives in more ways than you may have imagined. Review the following reasons, and see how your child could benefit.
1. It brings a sense of belonging
Kids need friends, especially friends who are motivated to do something besides just hanging out. Playing in the school band or singing in the school choir brings an immediate pool of potential friends like this. It’s fun to be with friends who enjoy what you enjoy. Practicing and performing together creates a comradery. They have a common goal that binds them together. Kids in these activities often work together to help each other do their best. When one does well they all do better. This can develop a sense of caring about others.
In a CNN special Vince DeFoire, trumpet player in the band CAKE, said, “Our drummer, Paulo Baldi, for instance, lived in three states as a teenager (Colorado, New Mexico and Washington) while attending four different high schools. Joining the marching band in each unfamiliar place helped to connect his high school experience. He made friends through each transition, and it made comfortable what could have otherwise been an alienating experience.”
2. It brings a feeling of happiness
We all want our children to be happy. Think back to the last time your child was sick or couldn’t fall asleep. You probably sang her favorite lullaby, one that would calm her and fill her mind with happy thoughts. Many a child has fallen asleep to the soft sounds of his mother or father singing a lullaby. When children hear you sing, they learn to sing. You don’t have to be a good singer to make this happen. A mother told us of how she always sang to her two little boys at bedtime. She said, ‘I didn’t have a good voice at all, but they didn’t seem to care.” As it turned out both of those boys grew up loving music. The parents provided them with singing lessons, which gave them the desire and opportunity to perform in musical stage plays, even into adulthood. This talent has brought a lot of happiness into the homes of these now-grown children.
It’s interesting to note that when participants on the popular TV show “The Voice” were asked how they started singing, many have said, “I learned at home and church.” These are two places where we can expose our children to uplifting music. Here’s another. When we asked a popular artist what helped him learn to play the piano so well he said, “When I wanted to stop piano lessons my mother took me to piano concerts. I got so caught up in it that I decided I wanted to keep on playing. Now I earn a good living as a keyboard player and love it. It’s brought me a lot of happiness.”
3. It helps develop other valuable skills
According to Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, “While singing, children develop listening and cooperative skills, coordination of the tongue and lips, gross and fine motor skills (through creative movement and keeping the beat), self-control, concentration skills and memory. Singing fosters the growth of the imagination; that essential part of a child's mind that is being increasingly impinged upon by the prevalence of TV, videos, computer games and busy schedules. Singing develops a child's sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. . . . While singing, children learn vocabulary and grammar, story form, math, history, geography, and science. Singing is a superb tool for learning foreign languages.”
In the previouslyited CNN article, DeFoire also stated that, “Aside from the social benefits, students in high school music programs have higher test scores and cognitive development. A U.S. Department of Education study found that those who reported consistent involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. (This observation holds regardless of students' socioeconomic status.)”
To see how music affects the brain and opens new avenues of learning click here. When you discover all the benefits of learning to play and sing music, you will do all you can to help your child become involved. Even if your child’s interests lie elsewhere, at least find a way to help him have a taste of music. The payoffs last a lifetime.
Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer. Together they author books on relationships. See their new .99 e-book "Wake-Up Call: What Every Husband Needs to Know" on amazon.com. Their website is garyjoylundberg.com.