My Child is Whining About Music Lessons (and I am, too)
Parents usually involve their children in two major extracurricular activities: music and/or sports. Usually you end up being the Taxi-Mom or Taxi-Dad and find yourself “hauling” (at least it seems that way) your kids to multiple activities. Slave to the clock, you’re usually pressing for time and desperate for your child to figure out what “LET’S GO!” means; does this sound familiar yet?
Eventually you hear, “Do I have to?” or “But I don’t want to go!” As frustrating and exhausting as this may be, there is an advantage to keeping your child involved in music. Largely, this article focuses on how music impacts your child, and why lessons in music brings lessons in life.
Admit it. You want your child to bring home those A’s and be the shining star in their class. Maybe your refrigerator is looking a little bare, lacking homework with giant red smiley faces on the top corner. There are studies upon studies showing that music positively impacts academic achievement. Simply put, the part of your brain that is stimulated by reading, math and emotional development is equally stimulated by music. When your child picks up an instrument, their chances of academic success increases!
From Turtle to Social Butterfly
Every parent dreams for their children to develop socially and have a solid group of friends. Music (especially an ensemble) boosts a child’s ability to: relate to others, work efficiently in groups, establish a leadership role and build discipline. Music gives your child opportunities to be heads and tails above the rest. Let’s face it, when you think of most kids these days, discipline and leadership are two qualities that are painfully difficult to come by.
There is a reason one of the most popular songs in the Sound of Music had to do with confidence. Music and its building blocks are a tangible result of a child’s achievement. Think of music lessons like a video game. Level 1 must be completed before moving onto level 2, so on and so forth; feel free to use that metaphor with your child! Each lesson is a challenge that can be learned, and better yet, applied. When a child sees success (i.e. the music teacher’s annotation for “completed” on the top of their music) and hears success (i.e. hitting the right note in a musical piece) they BELIEVE in themselves because their accomplishment is tangible. Their triumph is believable. Therefore, their abilities are real! That is confidence.
Parents always seem to be seeking the avenues in which their children can travel toward absolute success. This approach and attitude toward high achievement is embedded in an American’s cultural DNA. However, the means to reaching that achievement as a cultural norm is not always the best route to take. Music is a favorable option for teaching essential life lessons; it's extraordinarily applicable and enjoyable!
Music has been used for behavioral therapies, healing and fetal development. This is evidence that music is influential. As a parent, it’s alright to “make” your child see the positive impact commitment can have on them. That means making sure they do what they need to, no matter how difficult. Having your support and encouragement is most important! Your children look up to you; the way you handle commitment is the way they will learn to handle commitment.
One lesson a week is worth all the frustrations, “battles” and potential conflict that comes along with your child committing to something that will only make positive changes in their life. So, the next time either of your family members finds themselves dreading the drive to music lessons or putting in the necessary practice to get to the next level, imagine what thinking long-term will do for your child in the future.
I'll end with this: Isn't ONE thirty-minute lesson a week worth giving your child the opportunity to learn skills for a lifetime?