When you’re out on the football field you need to be coordinated and have some type of manual dexterity to be able to catch the ball and make a touchdown without being squashed by a 300 pound linebacker.
Granted, you’re not likely to face the last challenge when playing a musical instrument, but manual dexterity and coordination are required to play just about any instrument well, making a case for equating music to sports.
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When schools make budget cuts, however, it’s often music programs that get axed over athletics. When schools take away the experience of playing a musical instrument isn’t just a shame, it may be cutting a valuable learning tool.
What Children Learn from Playing a Musical Instrument
Any parent or teacher will tell you that when a child is seriously interested in something, they tend to be more open to learning about it. Playing a musical instrument encourages creativity, builds teamwork, promotes self-discipline, and creates a desire to learn.
Naturally, playing a musical instrument involves reading music and lyrics. Lyrics are just words set to a specific rhythm that tend to rhyme. Anybody who grew up on Sesame Street can attest to the fact that setting words to jungle music is an excellent learning tool, especially in younger children. Simple wording and a strong repeditive beat go a long way in the minds of children. If they can dance, all the better!
If the songs are age appropriate in terms of lyrics, you just might be surprised at the skills your child picks up. Reading is made easier when words rhyme, because children can see the patterns.
A Boost to Your Child’s Self-Esteem
When playing a musical instrument, the focus is put directly on your child. They develop a sense of self-esteem by achieving such goals as playing the scales correctly or learning a new song.
Studies have found that children who excel at playing a musical instrument also tend be better at analyzing problems. A recent University of California study found that music trains the brain to think on a higher level.
Studies also show that “music kids” aren’t as prone to pick up destructive or addictive habits. It’s really all about developing a better sense of who you are and what you can do. This confidence extends to such things as learning to read.
Learning to play a musical instrument involves a series of goals with a few setbacks here and there, which is very similar to the process of learning to read.
Building Confidence and Reducing Frustration
When learning to do anything, there can be some frustration involved. This is especially true for children. Learning to play an instrument takes some work, including a lot of patience and practice.
The learning process in general is very similar to how your child learns to play an instrument. When you’re child starts reading, they’re not going to get every word. It’s going to take some practice.
If they went through this similar process while learning to play an instrument, your child is less likely to give up when learning to read. This confidence can also come in handy when learning calculus or tackling those first months away from home at college.
The lessons learned from mastering a musical instrument are lifelong skills. You won’t see 70 or 80 year old football or baseball players, but the ability to play a musical instrument can last a lifetime.
Of course, as with sports, practice is involved. Even if you’re not playing the bassoon at 85, confidence and self-esteem always come in handy, regardless of how old you are. Your child may not remember the monogrammed tie clip you gave him for graduation, but music is a gift that lasts forever.
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