Summer is over (Finally)
As a kid I remember summer being an amazing time: riding bikes with my friends, Staying up late, playing video games, playing music and not having a schedule. I had regular appointments, like my music lessons, but by and large I didn’t have to be anywhere. I am now a parent of three school age children and realize that this is actually horrifying. Mostly for my own sanity. So, now like most parents I welcome “back to school” if not just for the return to a regular routine.
Music Lessons and Routines
The routine itself has many benefits for kids. This isn’t just for babies and toddlers as is often recommended in parenting books. For children of all ages routines can lower stress, improve health, sleep cycles and a general sense of well being. Which means that regular times for activities are super helpful in giving kids a regular life rhythm.
Music lessons are one of the best ways to help kids establish a routine and learn self discipline. Regular practice (for example after school) can help establish a normal routine. The routine itself then becomes a sort of feedback loop in a reward cycle. The student receives positive feedback as they improve. This in turn causes them to wish to improve more.
Routine practice also helps them to learn delayed gratification. Many of us will have heard of delayed gratification in relations to the marshmallow test (link) but, it turns out with that particular test all is not as it seems. While in part a predictor of future success it is also something that can be learned over time.
Delayed gratification is a skill. Kids and adults alike can work to improve this skill and music lessons are a great way to do it. Being able to play music with friends, family and even successfully navigate a live performance (even in a small setting) has tremendous rewards both physiologically and psychologically.
Benefits of Learning Music
I have written before on why learning music can be good for both adults and children. There is heaps of research on this topic and a simple search of “benefits of learning music” yields 131 Million hits on Google. Shouldn’t be too hard to sort through that. There are exceptional rewards for children that will last a lifetime. It is a wonder to me that we are still debating about the necessity of including music class in schools.
Music in school can help tremendously with social skills (yes even for band nerds). A 2014 paper in Psychological Frontiers (an established peer-reviewed psychological journal) stated that “a key function of music” is “its capacity to create and strengthen social bonds.” I do suggest just a cursory glance at this article, but the essence is that through playing music with others helps in creating strong social bonds, and encourages the creative process.
Music lessons help to enable creativity. Creativity is a skill just like reading and writing. It is part of how we come up with new ideas, designs and products. It is how we interact and make the world better. Creativity is the central part of how we improve our world and ourselves. It doesn’t matter what field you or your child go into. Creative problem solving is going to be needed if they are going to excel.
So now that summer is over, back to school is here, get the kids started in something that will benefit them for life.